After backlash over the discriminatory guidelines issued by Indian Bank, which deemed pregnant women with over three months pregnancy "temporarily unfit" to join the bank, the Delhi Commission for Women on Monday, 20 June, issued a notice to the bank seeking withdrawal of the rule.
"The Commission has issued notice to Indian bank and has asked them to withdraw the newly issued anti-women guidelines and to provide complete details as to how the policy was framed along with its approving authority. The Bank has been asked by the Commission to provide a detailed action taken report in the matter by 23.06.2022," the DCW said in a press release.
A recent circular issued by the bank prevents immediate recruitment for women who are more than three months pregnant.
In its notice, the commission has stated that the alleged action of the bank is discriminatory and illegal as it is contrary to the maternity benefits provided under ‘The Code of Social Security, 2020.’ Further, it has noted that the rule discriminates on the basis of sex which is against the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
Further, DCW chief Swati Maliwal has written a letter to the Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, requesting his intervention in the matter. The commission has asked the RBI Governor to conduct an inquiry into the matter "and fix accountability of the bank officials who have issued the sexist guidelines," as per a press release issued by the women's body.
“The rules are discriminatory and illegal and should be immediately withdrawn. Further, banks should be discouraged from issuing such guidelines in future. I hope RBI will take strict action in the matter and will formulate guidelines and fix accountability restricting banks from making such rules," the DCW chairperson said.
What Did the Indian Bank's Guidelines Say?
As per the guidelines and criteria for physical fitness for pre-employment recently issued by Indian Bank, candidates would be re-examined six weeks after delivery for the appointment of selected post.
"A woman candidate, who as a result of tests, is found to be pregnant of 12 weeks' standing or over, should be declared temporarily unfit until the confinement is over. The candidate should be re-examined for a fitness certificate six weeks after the date of labour, subject to the production of medical certificate of fitness from a registered medical practitioner," it said.
As a result, the joining of such women would be delayed and such candidates would lose seniority.
It is pertinent to mention that similar rules were framed by the State Bank of India earlier this year, but the same were withdrawn immediately after the notice of the Delhi Commission for Women.
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