NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court of India warned on Monday the state-owned airlines Air India that it could not refuse employment to a person for being transsexual, following accusations of discrimination on these grounds.
The apex court said in a notification that nobody can discriminate against a transgender person in the work sphere and urged the airline to consider the candidature of the petitioner, Shanavi Ponnusamy, for the post of flight attendant.
Ponnusamy, a 28-year-old engineer who underwent a sex change operation in 2014 to become a woman, went through the selection process to join Air India’s cabin crew on four occasions.
Despite doing well in the tests, and having the required experience, the candidate was not considered for the position, the court said.
Indian law establishes that no one can be discriminated against on the basis of gender, said the Supreme Court, which in 2014 gave recognition to the existence of a “third gender,” besides masculine and feminine.
According to the latest census in 2011, there are half a million transsexuals from a total population of more than 1.25 billion in India.
On June 28, the Indian government approved a plan to study the disinvestment of Air India and five of its subsidiaries, but did not offer details or conditions regarding the process.
The airline has run debts of around $7.7 billion.