June 19, 2022

Withdraw Anti-Women Decision by Indian Bank: AIDWA

ALL India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in a press note issued on June 15 strongly condemned the decision of the Indian Bank not to appoint selected women candidates who are six or more months pregnant. AIDWA said: “This anti-women decision by the Indian Bank is similar to the one taken by the State Bank of India some months ago. The SBI had to withdraw their decision due to huge protests from various quarters.”

The Indian Bank in its latest guidelines for physical fitness has introduced a new condition that “a woman candidate, who as a result of tests, is found to be pregnant of 12 weeks’ standing or over, should be declared as temporarily unfit until confinement is over. The candidate should be re-examined for a fitness certificate six weeks after the date of labour, subject to the production of a medical certificate of fitness from a registered medical practitioner”. The Tamil Nadu Grama Bank (TNGB) sponsored by Indian Bank has also issued similar guidelines prohibiting women with more than six months of pregnancy from joining its services and laid a condition that they would be allowed to join only after three months of delivery after medical examination. This retrograde clause is highly discriminatory against women. 

As it is the work participation of women at present is the lowest in the country since independence, AIDWA pointed out. Such instructions issued by bank management will further adversely impact job opportunities for women.  The number of women employees in banks is dismally low at 25 per cent. This circular also violates the provisions which the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017. There is a provision related to compulsory crèche (daycare) facilities for every establishment across all sectors employing 50 or more employees. This includes the benefit that mothers are allowed to visit the crèche four times per day. Preventing women from joining the bank due to pregnancy is a violation of their right to work. 

Earlier once the female candidates had cleared the written test and interview, they had to fill up a declaration to medical examiners under the subtitle “for female candidates only” that asked for details of their gynaecological history. This humiliating clause had been withdrawn after protests. Bringing back such regressive steps is unacceptable. AIDWA demands the immediate withdrawal of this anti-women decision by the Indian Bank management.

Malini Bhattacharya and Mariam Dhawale, AIDWA president and general secretary respectively, demanded action against the executive who was responsible for the issuance of such retrograde circular which is anti-constitutional. They also demanded of the union government to ensure that no institution discriminates against women in recruitment.