Frame policy for ‘reasonable accommodation’ of transgenders in jobs: SC to govt

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the government to come up with a policy framework to provide reasonable accommodation to transgenders to seek employment in establishments covered under the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli asked the Center to complete it in three months in consultation with the National Transgender Persons.

The court said the 2019 Act was a turning point for transgenders and said the central government should take the lead in facilitating an enabling framework. It also asked the government to submit a report on record.

The court also gave liberty to the Department of Personnel and Training and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to consult all stakeholders.

The court was hearing a plea by a transgender woman, who had challenged the denial of cabin crew jobs by Air India.

Shanavi Ponnuswamy, an engineering graduate, said she was working with AI customer support (domestic and international) in Chennai when the airline came up with an advertisement for cabin crew in 2012. Though he applied, it was rejected. She challenged this as a violation of her fundamental rights and argued that she was denied a job because of her gender identity.

Senior advocate KV Viswanathan, appearing for the airline, told the bench on Thursday that he was rejected not because of his gender identity, but because he had not secured the required qualifying marks.

The court observed that the matter has wide ramifications and directed the government to come up with the policy.

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