Indian Bank issued guidelines against recruitment of pregnant women sometimes ago. Now after repeated representation from Shri S Venkatesan, MP from Madurai belonging to CPI(M), Indian Bank relented and withdrew the particular clause from its recruitment policy.
“Indian Bank in its guidelines for Physical Fitness had 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”. This is nothing but a gross gender discrimination against women” reported Bank Workers’ Unity, in its 11th June 2022 issue.
It was further reported by Bank Workers’ Unity in its 18th June 2022 issue that “Indian Bank, upon these protests, removed all the related forms in its Career site. However it is to be seen whether the gender discrimination is completely removed in the new guidelines which are yet to be uploaded. At least now Indian Bank Management has to realize its roles and responsibilities as a Public Sector institution and restore gender equality both in Indian Bank and its sponsored Tamilnadu Grama Bank. It is also hoped that no institution, public or private, would ever think of discriminating against women in future”.
On 16th June 2022, Indian Bank Executive Director Shri Ashwani Kumar replied to Shri S. Venkatesan, MP that “Indian Bank has always been a progressive bank with a proactive approach towards the empowerment of women employees.” Further the bank said that “No female employee has thus far been denied employment by Indian Bank on the ground of pregnancy. However, extensions wherever sought by the candidates, have always been considered favourably and allowed to join after delivery as per advice of certified medical practitioner, keeping in view the need of their well being as paramount.” But in that letter, the Management of Indian Bank did not commit to withdraw the said controversial clause denying employment to pregnant women. The said letter of Indian Bank concluded by saying “Meanwhile, we appreciate your concern in the matter and our Bank will be taking a view in this area. The outcome, if any, shall reflect in the medical examination policy for new recruitments occurring henceforth”.
As there was no commitment on the part of the Indian Bank to withdraw the reprehensible policy guideline, Shri S. Venkatesan, MP again took up the issue with the Indian Bank through his letter No.H57/GOI/MP/Madurai dated 21st June 2022 expressing his concern about the gender discrimination adopted by the Indian Bank.
For this letter, the Indian Bank Executive Director Shri Ashwani Kumar again replied to Shri S.Venkatesan, MP through a letter dated 4th July 2022 stating that “Pursuant to our earlier communication, we had committed that the issue will be reviewed. Accordingly, Bank has reviewed and dropped the referred clause, with a view to prevent any further re-occurrences of misinterpretation…. We earnestly request that matter be allowed to rest”.
Thus Indian Bank has relented and dropped the clause denying employment to pregnant woman. It is a victory for all the democratic forces which took up the issue seriously and raised their voice against gender discrimination. It is to the credit of Shri S.Venkatesan, MP who relentlessly pursued this issue to its logical end.