Just like married sons, married daughters can also avail dependent cards available to children of former defence personnel, said the Karnataka High Court, striking down a Sainik Welfare Board guideline that said otherwise.
What did the court say? In an order issued on 2 January, a single-judge bench of the HC ruled, "If the son remains a son, married or unmarried, a daughter shall remain a daughter, married or unmarried. If the act of marriage does not change the status of the son, the act of marriage cannot and shall not change the status of a daughter."
A dependent card is an identity card issued to the family members of former defence personnel so that they can avail benefits, welfare schemes, and opportunities.
There's more: Justice M Nagaprasanna also asked the central government not to refer to former defence personnel as "ex-servicemen" and consider a more gender-neutral term.
What's the case about? The case was filed by Priyanka Patil, the daughter of former army personnel, Subedar Ramesh Khandappa Police Patil, who died during 'Operation Parakram' in the year 2001. She approached the high court in 2021 after the Sainik Welfare Board refused to issue her a dependent card, citing she was married.
Why is this important? Thirty-one-year-old Priyanka was just 10 when her father died. In 2020, she wanted to be identified as the daughter of a former defence personnel to avail 10 percent reservation in the recruitment of assistant professors in government degree colleges in Karnataka. She, however, was denied the identity card by the Board over her marital status.
And then? The HC, while hearing her plea, stated that the Board's rule was "violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India," which guarantees equality. It added that the guideline is a "depiction of gender stereotypes that existed decades ago, and if permitted to remain would be an anachronistic obstacle in the march to women's equality."
Justice Nagaprasanna added:
"I hold that exclusion of married daughter for grant of an I-card in terms of guideline 5(c) of the guidelines for issuance of I-cards to dependants of ex-servicemen to be violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India and accordingly, I strike down and annihilate the words "till married" in the aforesaid guideline."