The Supreme Court has ordered the Centre to formulate a policy to facilitate the employment of transgender persons in all establishments / organisations covered under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019. The Centre has been given three months to do the needful in this regard.
The order came following a plea by a transgender woman called Shanavi Ponnuswamy. She has accused Air India of refusing to hire her as cabin crew because she was a transgender woman.
Ponnuswamy had approached the Court in 2017. Born male, she had undergone surgery for reassignment of gender in 2014. She had sought to be employed as cabin crew with Air India, but as the latter did not have a column for third sex, Ponnuswamy had mentioned her gender as ‘female’. However, she was refused the post because she was a transgender.
Air India, however, claims that the job was refused to Ponnuswamy simply because she had failed to score the minimum qualifying marks in the Scheduled Caste (SC) category; that her rejection had nothing to do with her gender.
The Central government has been ordered by the Supreme Court to create a suitable policy, in consultation with all stakeholders, to enable / facilitate the employment of the third sex.
According to Ponnusamy, who is an engineering graduate, Air India’s vacancies were meant only for men and women, and there was no provision for a transgender person to apply. She also sought the removal of the hiring criteria, including a personality screening and group discussion for those applying for cabin crew roles.