SC orders union government to develop inclusive policy to employ people from trans community
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, which came into force in 2020, was a positive step towards inclusivity. However, her timeliness on the pitch has been called into question by a recent petition filed by a trans woman alleging that she was denied a job opportunity because of her orientation.
A bench heard the case of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli, who issued an interim order and ordered the Union Government to make necessary and ‘reasonable’ accommodations within three months to provide employment opportunities to people of the transgender community.
Context of the petition
The petitioner had applied for a job with Air India after seeing an advertisement for a female cabin crew in 2017. After that, she received the appeal letter and presented herself for several tests. Although she did well on the tests and four attempts later, she was not shortlisted as a suitable candidate for cabin crew.
She had claimed that she had been chasing this dream for some time and had previously worked with Sutherland Global Services and Air India’s domestic and international customer service.
After being rejected despite good grades, the woman said she was not shortlisted because she identified as transgender. She attempted to approach the Prime Minister‘s Office and the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the grievance, but there was no redress. After which, she took legal action to consider her application.
Appearing for her in the Supreme Court, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain also reported that the woman had officially undergone gender affirmation surgery in 2014, and this information was published in the state government gazette. It was only after the surgery that she applied for the post of female cabin crew member for the Northern Region office in Delhi.
A report by The News Minute said the Supreme Court issued an opinion in 2017 and sought responses from Air India and the Civil Aviation Ministry after hearing the plea.
Air India, which is now privatized, was represented by lead solicitor KV Vishwanathan and attorney Fauzia Shakil, who rejected the claims and argued that she had not been selected because she had failed to meet the qualifying scores.
However, the court observed that the petition raised broader questions about the application of the policies in place.
The Court’s decision
The Supreme Court observed that the Union Government is responsible for adopting measures after the recommendations of the National Council under Section 16 of the Transgender Act.
In accordance with this, the bench directed the government to appropriately frame the policy and provide necessary guidance to entities including state governments. He said the provisions of the Transgender Act must be implemented in “letter and spirit by formulating appropriate policy”, and that establishments covered by the law must reach legitimate people.
The published notice directs the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to carry out the necessary consultations, after which the matter will be heard within the next three months.
He also drew attention to sections eight and nine of the law, under which the governments concerned have an obligation to ensure the full and effective participation of transgender people and not to discriminate against any person. transgender in any matter related to employment and other related matters.
Also Read: Rajya Sabha Passes Controversial Transgender Protection Bill 2019