No Option Of Third Gender, SC Issues Notice To Air India After A Transgender Was Denied Job

The Logical Indian Crew India

July 25th, 2018 / 5:20 PM

Shanavi Ponnusamy

Image sources: The News Minute, Deccan Chronicle

Shanavi Ponnusamy filed a petition stating that she was not considered for the job of Air India cabin crew member because there wasn’t an option for ‘third category’ in gender. As a result of the petition filed by Shanavi, Supreme Court issued a notice to Air India seeking the inclusion of the “third category” in the recruitment criteria, BarandBench reported.

The Petition

In her petition, Shanavi has mentioned the fact that the criteria to appear for group discussion (GD) and personality aptitude test (PAT), which are the basic tests for selection, had only two options – ‘male’ and ‘female’, thereby isolating her from the job role.

Also, she wrote in her petition that “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights)” Bill, prohibits discrimination. It is clear that no person shall discriminate against a transgender person about employment or occupation,” as reported by Indian Express.

Supreme Court Issues Notice

Hearing the petition, Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud immediately issued a notice to Air India and Civil Aviation Ministry seeking their answers in four weeks.

Authorities’ Response

After the bench sought responses from Air India and the Civil Aviation Ministry, Air India’s affidavit justified its decision by replying that Shanavi could not secure minimum marks of 55. Instead, she scored only 51 and that there was no discrimination whatsoever in the process, according to a statement in India Today report.

Reportedly, she had undergone a sex change operation in Bangkok, in 2014. However, before that, she worked with big names like Sutherland and also Air India as customer support in Chennai. She had appeared and successfully passed the competitive examination put forth by the Airlines. However, she has not been shortlisted after the Civil Aviation Ministry allegedly said there was no category to ‘include’ her.

In February, this year, Shanavi also sought mercy killing from the apex court after the airline rejected her job application for cabin crew. “I met all the eligibility criteria under the ‘female’ category – body measurements, BMI, height etc. That did not stop Air India from rejecting me four times, with no explanation whatsoever,” Shanavi told The News Minute.

Shanavi also posted her video on a social media page “Trans Rights Now Collective”, to seek support from the community.


Posted by Trans Rights Now Collective on Monday, February 12, 2018

‘Third Category’

The war is still being continued as Advocate Grover, representing Shanavi, said, “SC judgment of April 2014 recognised the rights of transgender as a third gender. Giving this legal category recognition, it even ordered reservation in jobs for them,” as reported by India Today.

Going back to the 2014 judgment, in recognizing the third gender category, the Court held that fundamental rights are available to the third gender in the same manner as they are to males and females. Further, non-recognition of the third gender in both criminal and civil statutes such as those relating to marriage, adoption, divorce, etc. is discriminatory to the third gender.

Also Read: “My Education Is Worthless, Everyone Asks Whether I Am Male Or Female,” Says Kolkata Trans-Woman Teacher


Also published on Medium.


Written by : Devika Deshpande

Edited by : Abhinav Joshi

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