DCW Chief Swati Maliwal had tweeted on this issue, “SBI appears to have issued guidelines regarding recruitment of pregnant women of more than three months duration and has declared them ‘temporarily ineligible’. It is discriminatory and illegal. We have issued a notice to them demanding that this anti-women rule be withdrawn.”
State Bank of India (SBI) has decided to put on hold a circular related to the recruitment of pregnant women after its criticism from various sections. In fact, the public sector lender recently reviewed the ‘fitness criteria for recruitment in banks’ along with the norms laid down for pregnant women candidates. According to the new rules issued after this review, women candidates who are pregnant for more than three months were said to be considered ‘temporarily ineligible’. Also, pregnant women can start a job within four months of delivery.
SBI, in its latest medical fitness guidelines for new recruits or promoted (promoted) people, had said that pregnant women candidates who are less than three months old will be considered ‘fit’. In the fitness standards issued by the bank on December 31, 2021, it was said that if the pregnancy is more than three months, the female candidate will be temporarily disqualified. In such a situation, they can be allowed to join within four months after the birth of the child.
This provision of SBI was termed as anti-women by many sections of the society including trade unions and Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). Along with this, the demand for its immediate repeal was raised. As the controversy escalated, the bank decided to postpone the revised guidelines related to the recruitment of these candidates keeping in mind the public sentiments.
According to the bank, “Only the old rules regarding recruitment of pregnant women will be effective.” SBI also clarified that it said that its motive behind the change in the recruitment norms was to clear the situation on unclear or very old points.
By the way, SBI’s move was criticized by bank staff and some organizations including All India State Bank of India Employees’ Association. KS Krishna, general secretary of All India State Bank Employees Union, told news agency PTI- The union has written a letter to the SBI management urging it to withdraw these guidelines. The amendment proposed by the bank is fundamentally against womanhood. The proposed amendment would be unconstitutional, as it discriminates against women by treating pregnancy as a disease/disability.
Meanwhile, CPI (CPI) Rajya Sabha member Binoy Viswam wrote a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in this regard. Through this letter, he had demanded immediate withdrawal of SBI’s medical fitness circular related to guidelines for recruitment of pregnant women. It has also said, “It undermines the rights of women.”
Earlier, female candidates with a pregnancy of up to six months were allowed to join the bank under several conditions. These conditions include production of a certificate from a specialist gynecologist that taking up a bank job at that stage is not likely to interfere with her pregnancy or normal development of the foetus or cause miscarriage or otherwise affect her health. There is no doubt.