Marking a land mark judgement that will further empower Indian women, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled in favor of women in uniform and asked the Army to change some of their rules.
In a recent hearing, the court said that a woman candidate who conceives during the selection process cannot be permanently debarred from joining as a doctor in the Army Medical Corps (AMC) on the pretext that she became pregnant.
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In this matter, the petitioner had applied for a vacancy in the AMC in early 2013 and was granted short service commission in the AMC in the rank of a captain, following an interview in July 2013. She was asked to join the service in February 2014.
She, in the mean time, was asked to clear all her examinations and medical tests. However, between 2013 and February 2014, the petitioner conceived and disclosed this information to the AMC on the date of her joining.
The woman’s AMC candidature was then cancelled and she was advised to undergo the entire selection process again, if she wanted to join AMC.
She then pointed out that had she not disclosed her pregnancy on the day or her joining or had she conceived a day after joining or even given birth before the joining date, she would not have faced this problem.
Further, unlike other branches of the parliamentary force, a married women till the age of 45 is eligible to join AMC.
The eligibility age in AMC is kept higher as they don’t undergo any training in the military academy. They can also join a military hospital closest to their residence. All that they need to do is complete their basic in-service course of eight weeks within a flexible period of time.
Justice Sidhu, though also noted that in such cases, keeping the nature of employment in consideration, the government can instead grant maternity leave or keep a vacancy reserved for the concerned woman, and the same position can thus be offered to her after childbirth.