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SC issues notice to AI, govt on transgender’s job plea

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the response of the Civil Aviation Ministry on a petition by a transgender person challenging a medical board’s rejection of her job application as part of the cabin crew in Air India.

Issuing a notice to the Aviation Ministry as well as Air India, for denying a transgender candidate a cabin crew job on the basis of her gender, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud gave the ministry four weeks time to respond.

Advocate K.P. Singh, who appeared for the petitioner, said at the time of applying for the job Shanavii A Punusammy had disclosed her status as a transgender and she was selected.

Singh said that Punusammy has a good academic record as she stood first in the high school exam and was a gold medallist in B Tech. However, she was rejected by the medical board.

Shanavi’s report stated that she had also attempted to take the matter up with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, but was not able to meet the Air India chairman and managing director (CMD).

When she finally got through, the Aviation Ministry reportedly told her that they didn’t have any category to ‘include’ her,.

In her petition, Shanavi also alleged that she was forced to sit under the female category. After hearing that the company had denied her the job because they didn’t have a category for transgender applicants, Shanavi seemed to make it a point to move the apex court to take up the issue of creating a third gender for jobs in the Aviation Ministry.

Shanavi, who before her sex change had worked with Sutherland and Air India customer support, was denied a job with the company despite doing well in her test because cabin crew vacancies are earmarked only for women, the petition said.