The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019: A Critical Analysis

Ankana Bal
Assistant Professor in Law, Amity Law School, New Delhi, India.

Volume III, Issue VI, 2020

As per the 2011 census, there are over 480,000 transgender people in India. Trans gender persons are the most marginalised and vulnerable group within the LGBTQ community. Transgender persons have historically faced a range of discrimination by the State and citizens. The society, often, fails to realize and care for the trauma, torture and pain which the members of transgender community go through. Transgender persons have been routinely criminalised, discriminated against, deprived of access to education and employment. They had to bear the brunt of criminal threats as they were on the streets forced into begging and sex work. They have faced sexual and physical violence, even been killed due to their gender choices. To protect the trans community from the historic abuses the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill was introduced by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 19 July 2019. The Bill received presidential assent on 5 December 2019. The Act came has been in effect since 10 January 2020. The 2019 Act and the immediately preceding 2018 Bill, were both preceded by a 2016 version. They were met with protests and criticism by transgender people, lawyers, and activists in India. The government 2016 Bill was sent to a standing committee which incorporated, the Supreme Court judgment on National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (2014), in its recommendations. The NALSA judgment and Standing Committee report tried to provide a “comprehensive approach”. They have mentioned transgender community ranging from social stigma, discrimination, public health care to employment opportunities, issue of various government documents. Unfortunately, the Act ignore many recommendations of the Standing Committee. It also fails to accommodate the Supreme Court directions. As a result, it caused outcry among the transgender community, lawyers and activists in India. In this article the researcher tries to analyse the loopholes of the Act and why it is failed to stand up to the expectation.