Citing 'peculiarities of gender', the Indian Army has justified barring married women from applying to the Judge Advocate General (JAG), the Army's legal branch. Explaining its stance, the Army said that married women “may seek maternity leave which will result in discontinuation of her training” at the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), reported Times Of India.

The army’s response came on a plea filed by Kush Kalra, against barring entry of married woman law graduate candidates in the army’s JAG branch.

Representational Image | Source: PTI

The petition, filed in April this year, claims that the bar is an example of institutionalized discrimination and is violative of the 'fundamental right of equality before law, right not to be discriminated on the ground of sex, equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, fundamental right to practice any profession and occupation and human rights of the women.'

But the Indian army however, claims that it is important for female candidates in the JAG to go through gruelling training session at the Officers' Training Academy and completing the same would be a hindrance for married women.

Source: PTI

Here's what the Army told the Delhi High Court:
  • Married women would require maternity leave and thus might not be able to complete the 10-month training at one go.
  • Married women need to be in a certain 'physical condition' to complete the pre -commissioning training.
Women officers of the Indian Army, participating in a Republic Day parade | Source: PTI File

In its affidavit, the Army further stated that both unmarried men and women cannot marry during the 10-month training process and that bar was not discriminatory. Rather, it was aimed at ensuring seamless absorption of women into the Army.

The PIL by Kalra, however, refers to the ban as unconstitutional and also brings up the issue of uneven distribution of seats between men and women in the JAG. It seeks to bring about a stay on the recruitment process for JAG for the year 2017, since the application notice called for unmarried /married male candidates while only allowing unmarried females to apply.

(Feature Image Source: PTI )