Around 100 persons and civil society groups representing transgenders have written to Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad amid reports that several provisions relating to transgenders have been removed from the proposed wage code bill.
“We are disappointed and shocked with the recent news reports stating that the Ministry of Law and Justice has deleted several provisions relating to the recognition and protection of transgender persons from the proposed wage code bill, as part of the proposed labour code,” they said in a letter to Prasad.
“These provisions had been approved by the nodal ministry, the Ministry of Labour and Employment. We request you to reconsider the decision of your Ministry and ensure that the protection for transgender persons in the bill are reinstated, with immediate effect.”
The letter said it appeared that the Law Ministry had deleted the provisions on the basis that transgender persons are already covered within the definition of “person” under the General Clauses Act, 1897.
“Apart from that, it has inexplicably taken the stand that provisions relating to the non-discrimination were not required,” it said, terming this position “neither sustainable in law” nor reflecting the “historic exclusion and discrimination faced by transgender persons on the ground”.
The letter also quoted a Supreme Court judgment of 2014 which upheld the right of transgender persons to be recognised in their self-identified gender as non-recognition of a transgender person’s gender identity violated the fundamental right to equality, freedom of expression and right to life and personal liberty.