In the High Court of Madras
2019 Lab IC 789, (2019) 2 MLJ 109
1. The Chairman, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Recruitment Board.
2. The Member, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Recruitment Board
3. The Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Recruitment Board
Date of Judgement
7 January 2019
Hon’ble Justice S. Vimala
Facts of the case
The petitioner is a candidate to the common recruitment of Grade II Police Constable. The petitioner completed 100 Meters (mts.) running event in 18.20 seconds. As per the norms, she has to qualify in 100 mts. running event by completing the running within 17.50 seconds. Thus, by shortage of 0.30 seconds, the petitioner has been declared unsuccessful in the physical efficiency test. The petitioner states that she was eight weeks pregnant on the day when the physical efficiency test was conducted and hence, she was not able to complete the running within the prescribed time.
The petitioner has filed this writ petition seeking a direction to the respondents to select the petitioner for employment as Grade II Police Constable / Jail Warden on taking a lenient view, which is equated to mercy.
The key issue before the Hon’ble SC was whether pregnancy and childbirth should be an impediment to discharge duty.
Order No. 91, dated 15.09.2003 issued by the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, under Rule 21 of Rules, 1980, in respect of promotion of Female constables to the rank of Head Constables. There is a condition of qualifying in the physical test as a condition precedent to the eligibility for appearance at the written test and following provision have been made for female constables:
- Pregnant women constables are liable to submit medical certificate in support of their pregnancy for availing of chance after delivery supported with medical fitness certificate for out-door test;
- Women constables, running on menstrual cycle can be given chance on the last date of test.
There is express provision in the Constitution of India that women shall be given special treatment in the matter of employment in order to eliminate socio-economic backwardness and to empower them in a manner that would bring about effective equality between men and women.
It is important to consider the Constitution provisions dealing with empowerment of women, viz., Articles 14, 15 (3), 16, 19, 21, 227 and 42 of the Constitution of India.
The learned Special Government Pleader appearing for the respondents submitted that the norms and procedures as prescribed in the notification and brochure are followed scrupulously and no deviation is permitted for any reason, whatsoever. It is pointed out that allowing such candidates will open flood gate for other disqualified candidates, which will hamper the recruitment process, therefore, it is not possible to provide employment to the petitioner at this stage on the ground of mercy.
Decision of the Hon’ble HC
The HC directed the respondents to select the petitioner for employment as Grade II Police Constable / Grade – II Jail Warden, with all attendant benefits. The said exercise shall be completed by the respondents within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. If further intensive physical training is required as per rules of the recruitment, it shall be postponed till the maternity leave of the petitioner is over.
The participation by the petitioner in a running test itself is a sign of courage, as persons similarly placed would be afraid of because of fear of losing the child through abortion. This aspect, though not a factor to be considered in the running test, it is the overall factor to be considered for selection to the post of the Constable.In the early stages of pregnancy, the Doctors always advice bed rest initially, at least for a period of three months.
Further, taking 0.30 seconds extra should have been considered negligible under the given context as well as under the International Standards prescribed for evaluation.
The pregnancy and the child birth should not be considered as the impediment for discharge of duty. The concessions given to pregnant women shall not be construed as a concession towards personal comfort of the women. The child birth should be considered as a contribution to continuity of generations, without which the existence of the world is impossible.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje