Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson, Swati Maliwal, today issued a notice to Indian Bank, calling for the withdrawal of its ‘new recruitment rules’ which deny immediate membership to a pregnant woman of three months or more.
“A candidate who, as a result of examinations, finds herself 12 weeks pregnant or more standing, must be declared temporarily unfit until the end of confinement. The candidate must be re-examined for a certificate of fitness six weeks after the date of work, subject to the production of a medical certificate of fitness issued by a licensed doctor,” the PTI news agency reported citing the lender.
In response to media reports, the Commission said the bank’s alleged action is “discriminatory and unlawful as contrary to maternity benefits under the ‘Social Security Code, 2020′”.
This step will cause a delay in the membership process and thereafter they will lose their seniority, the Commission said in its notice.
The Commission has asked the lender to withdraw the newly issued anti-woman guidelines and provide full details of how the policy was developed with its approving authority.
Ms Maliwal also wrote a letter to the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shakikanta Das, and asked to intervene in the matter and issue instructions to all lenders in the country, preventing them from establish such “unlawful and unconstitutional rules that discriminate against women”. “
“It is not acceptable for a pregnant woman to be labeled as ‘temporarily unfit’ and denied work opportunities. This reflects the patriarchal mindset and misogyny that still prevails in our society. The rules are discriminatory and illegal and must be immediately withdrawn. Furthermore, banks should be discouraged from issuing such guidelines in the future. I hope that RBI will take strict action in this matter and issue guidelines and lay down liability preventing banks to establish such rules,” the DCW chief said.
Meanwhile, the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has also condemned the Indian Bank’s “anti-women’s” decision not to nominate selected candidates who are more than 12 weeks pregnant.
In a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the All India Working Women Forum called the move “regressive and misogynistic.”
Earlier in January, the country’s biggest lender, SBI, introduced new rules under which a candidate more than three months pregnant would be considered “temporarily unfit” and could join the bank within four months of being childbirth.
The State Bank of India has suspended revised guidelines on recruiting pregnant women after facing huge criticism from various quarters.