Delhi Women’s Commission issues notice to Indian Bank over discriminatory guidelines

A view of a branch of the Indian Bank. File

A view of a branch of the Indian Bank. File | Photo Credit: SRINATH M.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Monday issued a notice to Indian Bank over media reports that it had framed new guidelines preventing women, who were more than three months pregnant, from joining service after being selected through due process.

“The Commission has learnt that the Bank has allegedly framed rules which state that if a woman candidate is three months pregnant, then she would be considered as ‘temporarily unfit’ and would not be given immediate joining upon her selection. This will lead to delay in their joining and subsequently they will lose their seniority (sic),” the notice said.

The DCW said the action appeared to be discriminatory and illegal as it was contrary to the maternity benefits provided under the Code of Social Security, 2020.

“Further, it discriminates on the basis of sex which is against the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India,” the notice read.

The DCW asked the bank to provide its response by Thursday. The panel also wrote to the Reserve Bank of India on Monday asking RBI governor Shaktikanta Das to intervene and issue directions to all banks to refrain from drafting such guidelines. The DCW pointed out that this was the second bank to do so, after State Bank of India framed similar rules earlier this year but later withdrew after facing a backlash.

Activists have been demanding the withdrawal of the Indian Bank guideline as well. All-India Democratic Women’s Association general secretary Mariam Dhawale said the decision was against provisions of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017, which is in force as the Code on Social Security passed to replace it has not been implemented yet. Ms. Dhawale said the guideline was against the fundamental rights of women and treated pregnancy as a disease.

“It is a direct attack on a woman’s right to dignity and without dignity, how can there be the right to employment,” Ms. Dhawale said.

She added that protests against the move were ongoing and the bank had removed the guideline from its website but not withdrawn it.

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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 6:28:09 pm |