Anti-Discrimination And Equality Bill Introduced

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Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill in Parliament on March 10, 2017.

This bill aims to make the constitutional rights of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity available to all our citizens.

The Bill also puts following people as per their sexual orientation: gays, lesbians, bisexuals, kothis and other sexual minorities; and, gender identity: transgenders, hijras and the non-confirmed genders; under the disadvantaged groups, along with those who face discrimination on the basis of their caste, race, disability, HIV-status, marital status etc.

Bill includes service providers, customers and employees in both the organised and unorganised sectors.

The bill significantly broadens the categories of what will be regarded as discrimination and prejudicial treatment under law.

The Bill makes it mandatory for organisations to carry out anti-discrimination and diversification duties, and progressively realise diversification through providing scholarships, recruitment measures and trainings, and targeted advertisements.

It provides for compensation to be paid by those indulging in discrimination, segregation or boycott.

The amount for damages is twice the monthly salary of an MP, or Rupees 1 lakh, whichever is higher. And for aggravated discrimination, exemplary damages can be awarded.

It also provides for protective orders, which are a type of restraining orders to prevent an individual or organisation from continuing to carry out a discriminatory act or practice.

Bill proposes the formation of a Central Equality Commission, with the commissioner having the stature of the Central Election Commission. The bill says: The Central Equality Commission shall— constitute an independent Inquiry Committee consisting of five-member to determine, after investigation, whether a group with certain protected characteristics, faces widespread and substantial social, economic, political, cultural, or educational disadvantage.

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