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The Indian Army's recruitment policy of keeping women out of its engineering and education corps was today challenged in two PILs in the Delhi High Court which sought the force's response in the matter. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra issued notice to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the army's Directorate General of Recruiting and sought their replies to the petitions, filed by a lawyer, before the next date of hearing on October 9. The petitioner has alleged "institutionalised discrimination" against women by the army as it does not recruit them into the two Corps by giving them a permanent commission. "This discrimination on grounds of gender is violative of fundamental right of equality before law, the right not to be discriminated on the ground of sex, the equality of opportunity in the matters of public employment, the right to practice any profession and occupation and the human rights of the women," the petitions by Kush Kalra contended. Women candidates are denied entry into the Engineering Corps under the 10+2 Technical Entry and the University Entry schemes in contrast to their male counterparts, one of the petitions said. In the other plea, Kalra has said the reason given by the Army for not recruiting women into its Education Corps is that they are not eligible for permanent commission in the army while the Army Educational Corps is a permanent commission. The petitioner has sought an order declaring the Indian Army's eligibility conditions which disentitle women from being recruited in the Army Educational Corps as void, since they are inconsistent with the fundamental rights of women. In his other plea relating to entry of women into the Engineering Corps, the petitioner has said the advertisement inviting application for recruitment only mentions male candidates and not female. "As per the eligibility criteria only unmarried male candidates are eligible for recruitment to the 10+2 Technical Entry and University Entry schemes (both for permanent commissions), which in-fact means no female with equivalent qualification are eligible. "This practice is discriminatory.
The respondents (MoD and Army) are treating equals unequally. It is arbitrary and discriminatory against women," the petition on Engineering Corps said. Kalra has also sought an order declaring the eligibility conditions for recruiting unmarried males alone in the Engineering Corps under the two entry schemes for a permanent commission as unconstitutional.
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