Delhi Women’s commission has taken suo-moto cognizance of a controversial circular issued by the State Bank of India (SBI) that said women who are pregnant 3 months or above will be considered unfit for recruitment.
The circular dated 31 December said if pregnancy is of more than 3 months, the candidate will be considered temporarily unfit and she may be allowed to join within 4 months after delivery of child.
Responding to this circular, Delhi Women’s commission on 29 January said the 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, the rule discriminates on the basis of sex which is against the fundamental rights provided under the constitution, the notice issued by the commission said.
Moneycontrol has copies of the SBI circular and the Delhi Women’s commission circular.
An email sent to SBI seeking its response on the matter remained unanswered till the time of filing this copy.
As per earlier rules of SBI, pregnant women candidates were eligible to be appointed in the bank up to six months of pregnancy, provided the candidate furnishes a certificate from specialist gynecologist that her taking up the bank’s employment at that stage is in no way likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is not likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health.
But this rule has been changed now drawing the ire of employees and Women’s commission.
The Delhi women's commission, in the notice issued to SBI chairman, asked the bank to withdraw the circular and explain the steps taken by the bank to ensure the said guidelines are non-discriminatory to women.
Also, the commission has asked the bank to explain the detailed process through which these guidelines were formed along with the names and designations of the approval authority.
The commission has asked the bank to explain the detailed action taken.
C H Venkatachalam, secretary of All India Bank Employees Association, said the SBI circular is unfair and unprofessional.
“No other bank has such rules that bar pregnant women from being eligible to apply for bank jobs. SBI needs to urgently reconsider this circular,” said Venkatachalam.
In the past, SBI had issued similar rules for pregnant women but the rules were withdrawn following widespread protests. Now, these rules have been brought back again.