06 October 2019
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has granted relief to a woman seeking to participate in the physical evaluation test for employment in Bihar Police as she could not attend the test owing to her pregnancy.
The court has also directed the Bihar Police Subordinate Service Commission to conduct the physical tests for those women who could not attend the physical tests for the same reason.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Krishna Murari has said that women candidates should not suffer a handicap on account of pregnancy.
"The presence of lady members in the police force, considering the crimes against women, is a prime need of the hour," the apex court said.
"Thus, we feel that every endeavour should be made to ensure that there is higher representation of women in the police services."
The observations of the bench came while hearing the plea of one Khusbu Sharma, who could not appear in the Bihar Police physical evaluation test due to her advanced stage of pregnancy in 2018. Sharma participated and qualified in the preliminary examination in March 2018, and thereafter in the main examination conducted on July 22, 2018.
The next stage involved undergoing the Physical Evaluation Test (PET) which was scheduled for September 25, 2018.
Being in an advanced stage of pregnancy with the delivery was expected in October 2018, Sharma sought an extension for taking the physical test for three to six months on account of being completely in bed rest as advised by the doctor.
When her plea went unheard, she approached the Supreme Court.
Upholding Sharma's plea, the court also said that not only here, but all such candidates who had sought deferment on account of pregnancy alone should be called for the physical test.
The court noted that 73 women could not attend the physical test due to pregnancy.
The court, however, clarified that the qualifying candidates shall be adjusted against the vacancies advertised this year, as the woman had challenged in respect of the 2018 vacancy, which has since been filled.
The court also said that the process should be completed within a period of two months.
Clarifying, however, that this is a one-time measure, the court said: "We are not inclined to open a floodgate affecting the sanctity of the future examination."