Ahmedabad | The Gujarat High Court has pulled up the state public service commission for "absolute gender insensitivity" after it turned down the request of a candidate to either postpone her interview or provide an alternative, as she was not in a position to appear for the same just two days after delivering a baby.
The court of Justice Nikhil Kariel said that interference was required in the plea filed by the candidate and issued notice to the GPSC returnable on January 12.
It also directed the commission not to declare the results of the interview for the post of assistant manager (finance and accounts) Class II for which the woman had applied.
"The grievance raised in the petition reflects the absolute gender insensitivity of the respondents towards one of the most sacred natural processes i.e. of giving birth to a child," the court observed, in an order dated January 9.
The petitioner, who cleared the written exam for selection to the post advertised by the GPSC in 2020, was informed on December 18, 2023 regarding interview dates on January 1 or 2, 2024.
The same day, the petitioner wrote an email to the GPSC informing that she was pregnant and that her due date was in the first week of January 2024, and it would be impossible for her to travel to Gandhinagar, almost 300 km, in the advanced stage of pregnancy.
The petitioner gave birth on December 31, 2023, and informed the GPSC through an email that she had just delivered a baby and requested that the interview either be postponed or she be given an alternative solution for the same.
In its reply, the GPSC asked the petitioner to remain present for the interview on January 2 and said no further time would be granted to her after that date.
The results for the written exam were declared on December 8, 2023, three years after the petitioner applied for the post, the high court observed in an order.
The woman was called for an interview after she cleared the written exam.
"In the considered opinion of this court, such a reply by the respondents reflects absolute gender insensitivity, more particularly when it was apparent that the petitioner who was a meritorious candidate, would not be physically capable of attending the interview on the third day after delivering the child," the court stated in its order.
When a reasonable request was made by the candidate in such a situation, it was incumbent upon the GPSC to either postpone the interview process or provide an alternative solution like an online interview, if it was permissible as per the rules, the court said.
Even the selection process was not going on at "a lightning pace," the court observed, pointing out that the results for the written exam were declared in December 2023 for an advertisement issued in the year 2020.