Indian Armed Forces, like the rest of the world, are highly patriarchal. There are positions reserved only for men. Then there are positions where marital status decides if a woman is eligible to hold it, while men enjoy it regardless. Recently, petitioner Kush Kalra filed a plea in the Delhi High Court to seek recruitment of women in the Territorial Army as well as Judge Advocate General in the Indian Army.
The Delhi HC will hear the case on November 22, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar has appointed Gautam Narayan, Additional Standing Counsel for Delhi as amicus curiae in both the cases, Live Law reported.
The Indian Army prohibits the recruitment of married women as Judge Advocate General. However, they recruit married men in the same position.
Kalra has filed two separate petitions seeking women’s recruitment in the Territorial Army and Judge Advocate General.
Currently, the Indian Army prohibits recruitment of married women as Judge Advocate General. But they recruit married men in the same position. In the petition, Kalra calls this “institutionalized discrimination” as it bereaves women of their right to equality.
The second petition calls for the employment of gainfully employed women in the Territorial Army (TA). Presently only gainfully employed men can enter TA. TA is an entity consisting of volunteers. The TA provides military training to these volunteers to fight for country’s defence in case of an emergency.
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“The work performed by the Territorial Army is for civilian good and by not allowing females to be a part of Territorial Army the army recruitment is acting unfair and bias towards whole female community,” says the petition.
“It ends up victimizing its subject (women) in the name of protection,” it adds.
Under the Indian constitution, gender discrimination is a violation of the Fundamental Right of equality before Law (Art 14).
The petition demands to overthrow such discriminatory laws. The petition further contends, “The standard for judging the proportionality should be a standard capable of being called reasonable in a modern democratic society. Instead of putting curbs on women’s freedom, empowerment would be a more tenable and socially wise approach. This empowerment should reflect in the law enforcement strategies of the state as well as law modelling done in this behalf.”
Picture credit- NDTV
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