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Delhi HC Rebukes CRPF for Not Promoting Pregnant Employee

Delhi HC rebukes CRPF

While hearing the case of a pregnant woman officer inducted into Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) not getting a due promotion, Delhi High Court slammed the authority. The bench said that they cannot treat pregnant women as disabled and disqualified. In addition, the HC restored the woman’s senior position and repealed the CRPF’s orders.

“Pregnancy discrimination is abhorrent and cannot be accepted as it violates the principle of equality and discriminates on grounds of gender,” said the bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Navin Chawla.

In her petition, assistant sub-inspector Sharmila Yadav said that in 2009 CRPF recruited her as a constable. Then she appeared for a departmental examination for the post of assistant sub-inspector and cleared it subsequently.

But in 2011 when the authorities released the list, she did not find her name in it. In fact, they had placed her name in the lower medical category because of her pregnancy, her counsel Ankur Chibber told Mail Today.

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And when Yadav raised her concern over this behaviour towards her from the force, which is when it did promote her in 2012, but refrained from restoring her seniority. This led to her batch-mates and her juniors becoming her senior.

In the last five years until 2017, she tried three different representations to get her seniority back from CRPF authorities but in vain. The force rejected her appeal every time.

During the hearing, CRPF officials told the bench that she got through the promotion list in 2011-2012 but because she was in the lower medical category, they did not promote her.

“Gender discrimination as would include discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and maternity and it is unlawful to treat the lady unfavourably because she has exercised her right and choice to be mother.”

In 2012-12, it promoted her to the rank of Assistant Sub Inspector. And this is why, she cannot claim superiority over her juniors as the CRPF had promoted them a year before her, said CRPF to the court.

To this, the court responded, “Gender discrimination as would include discrimination on grounds of pregnancy and maternity and it is unlawful to treat the lady unfavourably because she has exercised her right and choice to be mother.”

The bench also told CRPF that they should meet out equal opportunities for promotion and development to all its employees.

“Otherwise it will amount to gender bias virtually treating pregnancy as disability disqualifying a person for the time,” it said.

It rebuked CRPF’s stand and said that it is “fallacious, unjustified and unacceptable. In fact, it reeks of discrimination and violates articles of the constitution.”

The bench then restored Yadav’s seniority and decided that CRPF should fix her pay notionally as if it had promoted her on the same day as her immediate junior. It will also entitle her to arrears three years before filing this petition.

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