September 4th, 2017
The NDA government has decided to drop the plans of recognising transgender persons as the ‘third gender’ in the country’s labour law framework, reports The Hindu.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had for the first time recognised transgender persons as the ‘third gender’ thus directing the Centre and the States to give them equal opportunities in education and employment.
The Wages Code Bill was drafted under an exercise to rationalise the country’s 44 labour laws into four codes covering all the regulations about wages, industrial relations, social security and safety, and health and working conditions.
However, part of the Labour Ministry’s draft law to codify wages and aimed at protecting transgender workers from discrimination has been shelved on account of reservations expressed by the Law Ministry.
The Law Ministry objected, citing the General Clauses Act of 1897, according to which ‘transgenders’ fall within the definition of ‘person’. As a result, it was decided that there was no need for making separate clauses for them.
Now, the Labour ministry would not include the term ‘transgender’ while stating the entitlements related to gender in any of the labour laws. The draft Labour Code on Wages Bill prepared by the Labour Ministry in 2015 had provisions prohibiting discrimination against transgender persons in the payment of wages.
The government’s proposed amendments to the Factories Act, 1948 in 2015 had also proposed special protections for transgender workers. But with the recent reservations of the Law Ministry, the latest draft amendments of the Factories Act will not contain the clause about transgenders, a senior official from the Labour Ministry reportedly said.
Transgender activists have been vexed at the recent developing claiming that it is a hypocritical step that has been taken by the government because discrimination at the workplace for transgender is a harsh reality.
It is appalling to see how, in spite of the Supreme Court ruling, the government has decided on doing away with the well-deserved entitlements of the transgenders.
The Logical Indian severely condemns the decision of the government. It is high time that we try our best to incorporate everyone from varied backgrounds – a step like this is anything but a step forward in the direction of progress.