Why this transgender candidate has taken Air India to court

Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India have been served a notice by the Supreme Court after accusations of gender discrimination by a transgender. Know more about the case inside

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice against the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the state-owned Air India after a transgender candidate accused the airliner of gender discrimination. The petition filed by Shanavi Ponnusamy stated that the airliner denied her a job with the cabin crew despite clearing the examination.

In her petition, which was heard by a bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, Ponnusamy contended that she had appeared and cleared the examination by the airliner but was not shortlisted for the post. She later got to know that she was rejected on account of being a transgender.

That the petitioner has learnt that she has not been able to make the cut on account of the fact that she is a transgender and the vacancies in the cabin crew are earmarked only for women,” the petition stated.

Ponnusamy has also contended that she went to the Office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to discuss the issue. However, she has not able to meet the Air India CMD so far.

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That the petitioner thereafter has represented to various authorities and even to the Hon’ble Prime Minister but till date, there has not been any redressal of her grievances,” the petition further stated.

Apart from redressing the issue, Ponnusamy has also asked the bench to create a ‘third category’ for jobs with the airliner, Outlook India stated.

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Shanavi Ponnusamy is a transgender who has completed her engineering from Tiruchendur, Tamil Nadu. She has worked with Sutherland Global Service and Air India customer support in Chennai before undergoing a gender reassignment surgery.

Meanwhile, in a similar incident, an Indian Navy officer had been sacked on October 9 this year after undergoing a gender transformation surgery. Sabi Giri, who was born as Manish Giri, was fired for breaching regulations and eligibility criteria.

“The Indian Navy has discharged Manish Giri, a naval sailor evoking the clause of Service No Longer Required under the Navy Regulations,” Indian Navy wrote in a press release.

Giri later approached the Delhi High Court, which in a ruling on October 31 asked the Navy to accommodate her. “You can punish her for indiscipline, but at the same time you can accommodate her,” the court said in its ruling.