Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Married law graduates not eligible to join Judge Advocate General Branch of the Indian Army

A petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court challenging policy being followed in the Indian Army, barring married law graduates from joining the Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch.

However, until 2017, the eligibility conditions for men and women desirous of joining the JAG branch as short service commissioned officer were different. Married women were not eligible for recruitment in the JAG department while there was no such restriction on married men. This was contested as discriminatory to women candidates. The Government had told the high court that “right to marry” was not a fundamental right and does not come under the ambit of the Right to Life under the Constitution.

However, the Government amended the eligibility condition under Army Instruction issued in 2017. Now married men and women are not eligible to apply for grant of Short Service Commission in the JAG branch of the Indian Army.

This too has been challenged in the High Court as discriminatory. It has been stated that since the legal age of marriage in India is 18 years and 21 years for females and males, respectively, there was no justification for making marital status an eligibility criteria. Due to the institutionalized discrimination being practised by the Government, law graduates aged 21-27 years are being deprived of their fundamental rights on grounds of marital status. The petitioner has contended that the discrimination on grounds of marriage violated Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 16 (Equality of opportunity), Article 19(1)(g) (Right to practice any profession) and Article 21 (Right to live with dignity) of the Constitution.

The Delhi High Court has allowed early hearing in plea and will hear the case on 11 January 2022.

Wg Cdr U C Jha (Retd)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).