"Outrageous," Rajasthan HC On Chest Measurement Of Women Forest Guards

The Rajasthan HC observed that the act of determining the chest measurement as a criterion for women candidates for forest guard recruitment is "outrageous" and "arbitrary." The court called it a clear violation of women’s dignity and privacy rights.

Kalyani Ganesan
Aug 17, 2023 14:49 IST
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The Rajasthan High Court observed that the act of determining the chest measurement as a criterion for women candidates for forest guard recruitment is "outrageous" and "arbitrary." The court also called it a clear violation of women’s dignity and privacy rights.

The court stated that the size of a woman’s chest is irrelevant and lacks scientific validation for determining her physical fitness, adding that such a criterion is not applied to other government jobs that involve more physical activity.

Rajasthan HC On Chest Measurement

Justice Dinesh Mehra made the observation while hearing the plea of three female candidates who had cleared the physical efficiency test during the recruitment process but were disqualified for failing to meet the mentioned chest measurements.


The bench dismissed the petition as the recruitment process was over. However, it ordered the state chief secretary, forest secretary, and secretary of the department of personnel to reevaluate the criteria for chest measurement.

Justice Mehta said while the respondent’s assessment didn’t appear to be incorrect, the court was deeply disturbed by the parameters set to determine the physical standards of female candidates. He further noted that the act of establishing chest measurement as a criterion was arbitrary and outrageous. He stated that it violated a woman’s dignity and privacy rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

He added that the size of female candidate’s chests does not necessarily reflect on their physical fitness or lung capacity. Even if they did, measuring them would intrude on a woman’s privacy. Apart from being irrational, imposing such criteria infringed on a woman’s dignity, bodily autonomy, and emotional well-being.


Further, the judge noted that once the hiring process was over, the court wouldn’t disrupt the completed recruitment. However, the court called for a thorough observation and review regarding the necessity of chest measurement for female candidates and whether it was necessary for the recruitment of forest officers, guards, or any other position.

The court also suggested that expert opinion could be sought to explore alternative methods for assessing lung capacity and to avoid the unnecessary humiliation of female candidates.

Derogatory & Humiliating


Noting that the size of a woman’s chest was irrelevant to determining a woman’s strength, Justice Mehta said the criteria lacked any scientific validation. The court called the practise derogatory and humiliating. Justice Mehta said considering the female candidates are required to clear the Physical Efficiency Test, which includes a 1.35-metre standing broad jump and throwing a 4 kg shot put 4.5 metres, the desired chest measurement appeared to be irrational and unnecessary."

Further, the court said that no such test was required for women candidates who applied for the post of police constables. mentioning that assessing the lung capacity of the woman candidate was understandable and acceptable, mandating the measurement of the chest was absurd and unjustifiable.

The court suggested using modern technology that is used by the state to recruit police constables, or if not, the candidates could be asked to run a specific distance to ascertain their lung capacity.


The court pointed out the lack of sensitivity showcased by the administrative authorities while formulating such policies. Apart from lacking a scientific foundation, the court noted how immodest the policy was and called for a thorough review.

Suggested Reading: Chest Size Criteria For Women Forest Rangers In Haryana Sparks Dispute

#Rajasthan High Court #Chest Measurement