Petitioner has cited the NALSA judgment of April 2014 which has recognized the rights of transgender as a third gender, to bolster her case.
The Supreme Court today issued notice to Civil Aviation Ministry and Air India on a petition filed by a transgender Shanavi Ponnuswamy seeking a direction to the national carrier to appoint her as a cabin crew.The notice was issued by a bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices D Y Chandrachud and A M Khanwilkar.
Ponnuswamy, an Engineering graduate had worked with Sutherland and Air India Customer Support had underwent a sex change and became a female. She has cited the NALSA judgment of April 2014 which has recognized the rights of transgender as a third gender, to bolster her case.
She said she was forced to approach the apex court as her repeated representations after doing well in tests and representations to civil aviation authorities and Prime Minister fell on deaf ears.
Issue a writ or direction in the nature of a mandamus directing the respondents to consider the candidature of the petitioner for the post of Cabin crew in Air India, said the prayer.
“The petitioner has taken four attempts so far but unfortunately she has not been short -listed for the post in question even though faring well in the tests conducted. The petitioner learnt reliably 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 were earmarked only for women. The petitioner has been rejected even though she has the required qualification and experience. The petitioner went to the Office of the Ministry of Civil Aviation to discuss the issue of her selection in Air India but till date she has not been able to meet the Air India CMD. It is unfortunate that the public servants who are manning such important posts do not think it to be their duty to meet the general public for the redressal of their grievances”, said the petition.
The petition said “Supreme Court of India in its pioneering judgment by the division bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India & Ors. [Writ Petition (Civil) No.400 of 2012(NALSA)] recognized the third genderalong with the male and female. By recognizing diverse gender identities, the Court has busted the dual gender structure of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ which is recognized by the society”.
“Recognition of Transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue,” Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan told the Supreme Court while handing down the ruling”, it said.
“ The right of equality before law and equal protection of law is guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution. The right to chose one’s gender identity is an essential part to lead a life with dignity which again falls under the ambit of Article 21. Determining the right to personal freedom and self determination, the Court observed that “the gender to which a person belongs is to be determined by the person concerned.” The Court has given the people of India the right to gender identity.
“Further, they cannot be discriminated against on the ground of gender as it is violative of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 21”, the petition said.