Denied job as cabin crew, SC to hear transgender woman’s plea

The transwoman had filed a petition against Air India for not shortlisting her even though she had performed well in all the tests.

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The petitioner, who had applied for the post of cabin crew at Air India’s office in Delhi, in the ‘female category’, in 2017, had undergone a successful sexual reassignment surgery in 2014. However, she claims that despite performing well in all the tests and group discussion, she failed to be shortlisted. Her argument is that she was not given the job because she was a transgender and Air India was only looking at hiring women for the post.

She had approached the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, but her grievance was not addressed and Air India failed to consider her candidature. Following this, she had filed a plea challenging the Airline.

In her petition, she draws attention the fact that the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 prohibits discrimination of any sort against a transgender person when it comes to a job or employment.

After three years, the Supreme Court on September 8, finally fixed a date to hear the transwoman’s plea. Since the matter has been pending for three years, the issue will be taken up after three weeks.

The Court had in 2017 permitted the petitioner to amend her plea challenging the Airline’s denial of job by questioning the grounds of conducting personality test for third-gender candidates by Air India.

A notice was issued in 2017 demanding that Air India and the Civil Aviation Ministry respond to the plea. However, the Airline and the Ministry had justified the denial of a job to the petitioner on the ground that she had not obtained the minimum marks required to qualify for the personality test and group discussion (PT and GD); and that she had not been discriminated against in any way.

On the other hand, the petitioner who is an engineering graduate, had claimed that she had work experience of 13 months in Sutherland Global Services, in the airline sector, and that she had even served with Air India’s domestic and international customer support, at Chennai.

In her plea, the petitioner refers to the SC verdict that protects the rights of transgenders by including a third category in election cards, passports, driving licenses, ration cards, and admission forms at various educational institutions, hospitals, and so on.

Her argument is that the Court has offered the citizens of India the right to gender identity, and therefore, they should not be facing any discrimination.

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