A woman doctor can't be debarred from joining the Army Medical Corps (AMC) just because she became pregnant during the course of the selection process, the high court in Punjab and Haryana ruled.
"Forcing a choice between bearing a child and employment interferes both with a woman's reproductive rights and her right to employment and such an action could have no place in modern India," according to the judgment. "Keeping the nature of employment in consideration, the government could grant maternity leave or keep a vacancy reserved which could be offered to a candidate after childbirth."
In October 2009, the director general of armed forces had stopped a woman candidate from joining the AMC on the grounds that she had become pregnant between the period of her application and completion of final selection process. The court has called it illegal and unconstitutional.
The doctor, who is from Pathankot district in Punjab, was selected for Short Service Commission as Captain in AMC in June 2013, was asked to report Commandant of Military hospital in February 2014. Even though she had passed a medical fitness test at the time of her selection, the hospital administration did not allow her to join as they claimed that her pregnancy amounted to "deterioration in health", reported The Times of India.
This is despite the fact that married women are not required to take military training for the short service commission (SSC).
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