Kerala HC on working women: The Kerala High Court ruled Friday that women qualified for jobs cannot be denied employment opportunity on the basis of late working hours.
The order was issued by Justice Anu Sivaraman while hearing a petition filed by Tresa Josefine. The petitioner is an engineering graduate working as a trainee with Safety and Fire Engineering at the Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited PSU.
She approached the court following a notification by the enterprise that only men could apply for the position of Safety Officer, owing to night working hours.
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The Kerala court ruled that such a provision by the PSU was in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution, which highlights every citizen’s right to equality of employment and protection from gender discrimination.
“It is the bounden duty of the governments and government functionaries to take all appropriate steps to see that a woman can carry out the duties assigned to her at all hours, safely and conveniently. If that be so, there would be no reason for denying appointment to a qualified hand only on the ground that she is a woman and because the nature of the employment would require her to work during night hours,” the court observed, as quoted by The New Indian Express.
As per reports, when the petitioner was denied the position on grounds of gender, she had raised an objection to Section 66 (1)(B) of the Factories Act 1948. The section states women aren’t allowed to work in factories or mines beyond 7 pm.
The court, upholding that the Act of 1948 cannot always capture current socio-economic lives and that women are employed in more than home-making today, said, “We have reached a stage where the contributions made by women in the spheres of economic development cannot be ignored by any industry.”