Chandigarh, November 25
Close on the heels of the Punjab and Haryana High Court taking cognizance of “gender discrimination” in the Army Dental Corps (ADC) where 90 percent vacancies were reserved for male candidates, the Delhi High Court has directed that the results of the ongoing recruitment process would not be declared till further orders.
Acting on a petition filed by Dr Gopika Nair and several other affected dentists, the High Court’s bench comprising Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Saurabh Banerjee has issued notice to the central government.
The petitioners have averred that out of a total of 30 vacancies, the Army has reserved 27 seats for men and only three were available for women. The clearing of National Eligibility and Entrance Test for Masters in Dental Sciences (NEET-MDS) is a qualifier for applying for ADC and while males till the NEET rank of 2,934 have been called for interview, women only till the rank of 235 were made eligible to attend the interview.
It has also been contended that recruitment in ADC, which is permissible upto the age of 45 years, was gender-neutral till last year and such recruitment where rules permit both males and females to join cannot be made amenable to reservation for men as it is impermissible under Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India.
The petitioner have also referred to some recent judgments of the Supreme Court which have called for equality in opportunity of employment in the defence services, except combat arms.
In a petition heard last month by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a bench comprising Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Jagmohan Bansal had directed that the woman petitioner should be interviewed provisionally and the results of the ADC recruitment shall remain subject to the outcome of the petition.
Meanwhile, some officials have also pointed out earlier that the Prime Minster and Defence Minister have both batted for gender-parity in the military, which has also been the officially stated policy of the government.