Tue, 05 Jul 2022

New Delhi [India], June 20 (ANI): Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal on Monday issued notice to Indian Bank for alleged 'anti-women' guidelines that prevent pregnant women from joining service declaring them medically 'temporarily unfit' and requested the intervention of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the matter.

"The Commission has learnt that the Bank has framed rules which state that if a woman candidate is three months pregnant, she would be considered as 'temporarily unfit' and would not be given immediate joining upon her selection. This will lead to delay in her joining and subsequently, she will lose her seniority," Maliwal said in a letter addressed to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.

This is a very serious matter. This alleged action of the bank appears to be discriminatory and illegal as it is 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 to all citizens under the Constitution of India, DCW Chairperson noted in the letter.

Taking suo-moto cognizance of media reports regarding the framing of new guidelines by India Bank for recruitment of staff, the Delhi Commission for Women issued notice to Indian Bank's Managing Director and CEO seeking a reply on the matter latest by 23rd June 2022.

As per the media reports, a recent circular issued by Indian Bank prevents women who are more than three-month pregnant from joining service, despite having been selected through due process.

"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," Indian Bank circular is quoted in media reports.

Earlier, a similar guideline was issued by the country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI). But it has been withdrawn.

"The alleged guidelines are clearly misogynistic, and the Delhi Commission for Women has issued a notice to the Indian Bank recommending its withdrawal. We wish to bring to your kind notice that similar rules were framed by State Bank of India earlier this year, but the same was withdrawn immediately after the notice of the Delhi Commission for women," Maliwal noted in the letter to the RBI Governor.

DCW chairperson requested the RBI to intervene in the matter saying, "it appears that banks are issuing these anti-women guidelines and many other banks may do the same until they are specifically discouraged for doing so.""We request your good office to kindly issue directions to all banks in the country refraining them from making such illegal and unconstitutional rules which discriminate against women. Further, the Reserve Bank of India should also conduct an enquiry into the matter and fix accountability of the bank officials who have issued the sexist guidelines," Maliwal added. (ANI)

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