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Air India v. Nargesh Meerza (1981)

Case Summary


The case of Air India v. Nargesh Meerza (1981) is a significant legal proceeding that addresses the issue of gender discrimination in employment practices. Nargesh Meerza, an air hostess with Air India, challenged the airline's policy of terminating the employment of female flight attendants upon marriage or pregnancy. She argued that such policies violated her fundamental rights to equality and non-discrimination guaranteed under the Indian Constitution.


In its judgment delivered in 1981, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of Nargesh Meerza, declaring Air India's policy discriminatory and unconstitutional. The court held that the termination of employment based on marital or pregnancy status amounted to gender-based discrimination, which violated the fundamental rights of female employees. The judgment emphasized the importance of gender equality and non-discrimination in the workplace, affirming that women have the right to work and pursue their careers without facing discriminatory treatment based on their marital or pregnancy status. The court's decision set a significant precedent in the fight against gender discrimination in employment and contributed to the advancement of women's rights in India.


The Air India v. Nargesh Meerza case had a profound impact on employment practices and gender equality in India. The judgment reaffirmed the principle of equal treatment for women in the workplace and underscored the need to eliminate discriminatory policies and practices. It prompted organizations across various sectors to review and revise their employment policies to ensure compliance with constitutional principles of equality and non-discrimination. The case also inspired further advocacy and legal action to address gender-based discrimination in other areas of society, contributing to the broader movement for gender equality and women's empowerment in India.

List of Linked Cases:

Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997)

Randhir Singh v. Union of India (1982)

Apparel Export Promotion Council v. A.K. Chopra (1999)

Anuj Garg v. Hotel Association of India (2008)

National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (2014)

Delhi Transport Corporation v. D.T.C. Mazdoor Congress (1991)