The Calcutta High Court has delivered a landmark judgment declaring that married women are entitled to government jobs on compassionate grounds, despite their marital status.
This ruling overturns the previous practice of denying such opportunities to married women, often based on the outdated assumption that they become part of their husband’s family post-marriage, losing their dependence on their paternal families.
The court ruled on a case involving Rekha Pal’s job application for a compensatory job on her father’s land, acquired for the Bakreswar Thermal Power Station in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
Despite the state government’s rejection due to her marital status during application, a 2012 notification promised jobs to affected families. Rekha, taking care of her widowed mother post her father’s passing, appealed the rejection
A single-judge bench favored her plea in 2014, instructing the government to grant her the job. The state challenged this directive immediately at the Calcutta High Court’s division bench.
Finally, on Friday, the division bench too had upheld the order of the single-judge bench.
In his argument, Pal’s counsel argued that if a widow or divorced woman is entitled to be considered as a member of her paternal family, why should the same not be applicable for a married woman?
Key Points of the Judgment:
- The court acknowledged that married women remain integral members of their paternal families and retain their right to claim support and benefits.
- The judgement cites the principle of gender equality and the need to eliminate discriminatory practices based on marital status.
- The court’s decision stems from a case filed by Rekha Pal, whose application for a compassionate appointment in lieu of her deceased father’s land acquired by the government was rejected solely because of her married status.
- This ruling paves the way for greater fairness and inclusivity in government employment opportunities, ensuring that women are not penalised for their marital choices.
Potential Impact of the Ruling:
- This judgement can empower married women to seek government jobs on compassionate grounds, offering financial security and stability.
- The ruling can also challenge discriminatory practices against married women in other areas, promoting equal rights and opportunities.
- It can encourage a shift in societal perceptions towards married women, recognizing their continued connection and responsibility towards their paternal families.
- The implementation of this judgment will require government agencies to revise their policies and procedures regarding compassionate appointments.
- Clear guidelines and regulations are needed to ensure fair and consistent application of this ruling across all departments and states.
- Further legal challenges might arise, requiring the courts to clarify and uphold the principles of gender equality and equal opportunity.
The Calcutta High Court’s decision marks a significant step towards achieving gender equality and eliminating discriminatory practices against married women. This ruling will empower many women to access government jobs and contribute meaningfully to society. However, effective implementation and continued advocacy are crucial to ensure the full realization of this positive change.
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