Indian Navy is all set to give Sabi Giri her job back after two years of it firing her for undergoing a sex reassignment surgery in 2017. Sabi, who worked as a sailor in the Indian Navy as she was a man before the surgery, will now be inducted at a lower division clerk level starting November – if she clears an exam.

Sabi is grateful for having her pay and other benefits back, she says to HT but her job will not be that of a sailor anymore. Since she lost her job in 2017, Sabi was living with the Trans Community and earned money by entertaining people at weddings.

Indian Navy does not allow women to work as sailors in the agency as per the Navy Act of 1957. “She couldn’t have gone back to the ship. So the tradesman job is the best thing to do. I am confident she will clear the exam and then she can come back,” an official said.

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Sabi worked as a sailor with the Indian Navy for seven years from the age of 18 to 25 until she transitioned. In November 2017, Sabi approached the Delhi High Court to fight for her right to the clerical job. “They first offered her a contractual job. She completely rejected it,” said her lawyer Amritananda Chakravorty, “That’s not just because of the permanent status but also because she was getting half her salary,” she added.

Now Vishakhapatnam-based, Sabi plans to go to Delhi later this month to prepare for her exam.

“The job offer is independent of the case challenging her dismissal. Her termination is still unlawful and we hope to win the battle,” the lawyer told TNM, adding, “The date of the exam is yet to be announced by the navy.”

After dismissing her in 2017, commander CG Raju, spokesperson of the Eastern Naval Command, told Hindustan Times “He chose to undergo irreversible gender re-assignment on his own accord, wilfully altering his gender status from the one he was recruited for at the time of his induction. He has, therefore, breached recruitment regulations and eligibility criteria for employment as a sailor in the Indian Navy.”

Sabi is grateful for having her pay and other benefits back, she says to HT but her job will not be that of a sailor anymore. Since she lost her job in 2017, Sabi was living with the Trans Community and earned money by entertaining people at weddings.

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Sabi aka Manish (Before transitioning) had responded to this by saying, “How can they discharge me because I underwent sex change? I remain the same old person with the same potential and efficiency. I can perform my duties as efficiently as any male sailor. How can they say that I am not fit to do a sailor’s job?”

However, the Delhi High Court supported her and directed the Navy to deal with her with compassion. The position that the Navy had provided her when it dismissed her from the position of Sailor was one that was lower in rank from her position of dismissal and offered her half the salary that she was making before transitioning. Hence, Sabi had demanded a position equivalent to the one she was fired.

Picture credit: Khabare Hindi

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