Women Cannot Be Denied Jobs Based On Marital Status: Rajasthan High Court


In a landmark ruling, the Rajasthan High Court has declared that marital status cannot be used as an eligibility criterion for public employment. The court strongly criticized the denial of a job to an unmarried woman applying for the position of an anganwadi worker as "irrational, discriminatory, and violative of fundamental rights."

The controversy arose from an advertisement by the Department of Women and Child Development, which required applicants for the position to be married women. Justice Dinesh Mehta, in his judgment, labeled this condition as "ex facie illegal, arbitrary, and against the very scheme of the Constitution of India, which guarantees equality."

The court has ordered the government to process the application of the petitioner, Madu Charan, within four weeks from September 4, in compliance with the rules. This decision represents a significant step in addressing gender-based discrimination.

Madu Charan had initially been told verbally that she was ineligible for the position when she submitted her application for the anganwadi center in Gudi, Balotara. She subsequently approached the high court, arguing that the eligibility criterion was "absolutely irrational, discriminatory, and violative of fundamental rights of the unmarried candidates."

In response, the government contended that if an anganwadi worker or helper gets married and relocates, it would disrupt the center's operations.

However, the court rejected this argument, asserting that it opened a new avenue of discrimination. The court's order stated that the denial of employment based on marital status "does not pass the test of reasonableness and prudence, and the mere fact that a candidate is unmarried cannot be a reason to disqualify her."

The court further emphasized that such a practice not only violates fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution but also infringes upon a woman's dignity.

This judgment by the Rajasthan High Court marks a significant milestone in upholding gender equality and challenging discriminatory practices in employment.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University