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‘Illegal, violation of gender equality’: SBI’s guidelines on pregnant women criticised

After intense criticism, the State Bank of India has withdrawn guidelines that said women more than three months pregnant will be considered unfit for recruitment.

January 29, 2022 / 03:31 PM IST
State Bank of India had received a notice from the Delhi Commission for Women for declaring women over three months pregnant “temporarily unfit” for service.

State Bank of India had received a notice from the Delhi Commission for Women for declaring women over three months pregnant “temporarily unfit” for service.


State Bank of India (SBI), after backlash on social media, has withdrawn guidelines that said women more than three months pregnant will be considered unfit for recruitment.

Earlier, women candidates were eligible for appointment in SBI up to six months of pregnancy, subject to doctors’ certification. But in a circular dated December 31, the bank declared women over three months pregnant “temporarily unfit” for service. SBI said that such candidates can join work within four months of giving birth.

Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal had described SBI’s new rule as illegal and discriminatory. The panel had issued a notice to SBI.

“As per media reports, a recent circular issued by the bank on December 31 prevents women who are more than three-month pregnant from joining service despite having been selected through due process,” read the notice signed by Maliwal.

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DCW had said SBI’s circular was contrary to maternity benefits provided to women under the Code of Social Security, 2020. “Further, it discriminates on the basis of  sex, which is against the fundamental right provided under the Constitution of India.”

DCW had asked SBI to explain how the rules were framed and sought details of the officials who approved them. It also told the bank to submit a detailed report on the action taken in the matter.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi had written to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and SBI Chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, asking them to immediately revoke the guidelines.

“Such regressive and sexist guidelines will exacerbate the exclusion of women and the inequality faced by them,” she added.

CH Venkatachalam, the secretary of All India Bank Employees Association, had described SBI’s circular as unfair and unprofessional.

“No other bank has such rules that bar pregnant women from being eligible to apply for bank jobs,” Venkatachalam said. “SBI needs to urgently reconsider this circular.”

Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Su Venketesan had said: “This is in clear violation of gender equality enshrined in our Constitution. Withdraw the order immediately.”



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