By Akhil Kumar For Youth Ki Awaaz:
“It is a unanimous decision of the house… This is a rare thing,” said Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien when the Rights Of Transgender Persons Bill 2014, introduced by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, was passed unanimously after a voice vote in the Rajya Sabha. It indeed was a rare thing, as the last time a private member’s bill was passed by the house was 45 years ago, and only 14 private member’s bills have been passed since Independence!
Every member of Parliament, who is not a Minister, is called a Private Member. The bills introduced by them are called private member’s bills, and most of them are usually not even taken up for discussion. “There were 328 such bills introduced in the 14th Lok Sabha and only 14 were discussed,” points out an analysis from PRS. One of the major reasons why this bill made it through was because Mr. Tiruchi Siva firmly held his ground and refused to withdraw the bill, going against the ‘convention of the house’. “The government was very keen that I withdraw the bill. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot sought to persuade me from moving it in the Rajya Sabha,” Mr. Siva told The Hindu. The leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley played a crucial role in ensuring unanimous support for the bill, “My appeal to all the sections would be that we come to a conclusion and that should be a general consensus of the House rather than being divided on an issue because this is not an issue on which the House should at all be divided,” he said. The bill “aims to put an end to all the injustices faced by the transgender community in our country and ensure them a dignified life, free of discrimination and unnecessary prosecution.”
We caught up with Mr. Tiruchi Siva at his Delhi residence, and got him talking about the Transgender Rights Bill. Watch this video where he explains the main provisions of the Bill, its passage in the Rajya Sabha, the government’s response, and the way forward.
You can get in touch with me on Twitter at @Akhil1490