Telangana Court Questions Gender Discrimination For Jail Superintendent Positions

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If Supreme Court can order central governments and the army to take women as permanent commission officers, then why not them also be taken in as deputy superintendents of jails, says the Telangana High Court in a judgement striking down the Telangana Jail Service Rules which is discriminatory against women officers.

The Telangana High court judge on November 24, was hearing a petition filed by T Venkatalakshmi Srinadh, who is the Deputy Superintendent (woman) of the Warangal Central Prison in Telangana.

Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A Rajasheker Reddy addressed the issue of women officers not being given equal footing as their male counterparts when it came to promotions and compensation.

On August 17, 1996, a government order for the Andhra Pradesh Jail Service Rules was passed. This order was adopted by both Andhra Pradesh and the new state of Telangana. The rules bars women officers from getting promoted to the position of jail superintendents. Plus, in the deputy superintendents section of the rules, there was no mention of women. It stated that deputy superintendents (male) can become jail superintendents but nothing about women who were shown as a separate category.

Striking down this rule, the court has directed the state to conduct a special departmental promotion committee meet. This is to consider the case of the petitioner, T Venkatalakshmi Srinadh.

In the same judgment, the court also asked the state and prisons wing to come up with schemes to help women staff get their dues. The petitioner was asked to handle the post of in-charge superintendent at a women’s prison in Hyderabad for two years now. Though, she was denied the allowances that come with the position because she was deemed ineligible for the post because of her gender. The court has asked the prison authorities to pay her dues and arrears for the two years of the service.

Supreme Court On Permanent Commission

In February 2020, the Supreme Court of India had ordered the Centre to ensure that women officers were given a permanent commission (PC) in the Indian Army. The court also directed to qualify women in commanding positions and gave the centre a three months time frame. The court quashed Centre’s argument on the “physiological restrictions” of women officers and called this notion “as being based on sex stereotypes and gender discrimination against women”.

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