“The presence of lady members in the police force, considering the crime against women, is a prime need of the hour. Thus we feel that every endeavor should be made to ensure that there is higher representation of women in the police services.”
Granting relief to women candidates who could not appear for the physical test during the selection process for Bihar Police held in 2018 because of their pregnancy, the Court has directed the Bihar Police Subordinate Service Commission to conduct a fresh test for such applicants. The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Krishna Murari, JJ has asked the Commission to conduct the physical test of the candidates and adjust them against vacancies notified this year. The Court said,
“We are of the view that not only the appellant but all such candidates who sought deferment on account of pregnancy alone should be called for PET.”
It was brought to the Court’s notice that the total number of ladies who claimed extension of PET on the basis of pregnancy or injuries is stated to be 78 in all, out of which 73 are on account of pregnancy. Noticing that it is on the prodding of the Supreme Court that these examinations were held, the Court said that had recruitments taken place in accordance with certain pre-defined schedules, intervention of this court would not have been called for as candidates would have known as to when recruitment would take place and would have to plan their life accordingly. The Court, hence, held that
“it is a fit case where the benefit should be made available to the candidates who may be in the advance stage of pregnancy at the relevant stage of time but have otherwise qualified the test.”
The Court, hence, directed that out of the candidates so called those who qualify the PET and are otherwise found in the merit for appointment alone would be eligible to be considered for appointment, subject to verification of the factum of pregnancy. Such process should be completed within a period of two months. All such people will, however, take merit at the bottom of the current list as it is the vacancies which are now advertised against which the candidates are being adjusted.
The bench, however, clarified that the aforesaid direction was a one-time measure as now the examinations are being held periodically. It, said,
“We are not inclined to open a flood gate effecting the sanctity of the future examination.”
- Bihar Police Subordinate Service Commission issued advertisement dated 16th September, 2017 to fill the vacancies for the post of Police Sub Inspector in the State of Bihar.
- Preliminary examination was conducted on 11th March, 2018
- Main examination was conducted on 22nd July, 2018.
- Physical Evaluation Test (PET) which was scheduled for 25th September, 2018.
- The appellant being in advance stage of pregnancy where the delivery was expected in the month of October, 2018 sought an extension of PET for three to six months on account of being completely on bed rest as advised by the doctor.
- There was no response to this representation and the appellant thus filed a writ petition before the Patna High Court which was allowed by order dated 3rd October, 2018, directing the Commission to fix any date after two months after informing her of the date of the PET.
- The Division Bench overturned this decision on 1st March, 2019.
[Khushbu Sharma v. Bihar Police Subordinate Service Commission, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1323, order dated 27.09.2019]