The Delhi High Court recently granted four weeks time to the Centre to file an affidavit explaining the reason behind the exclusion of married candidates in the recruitment of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) department, the legal branch of the Indian Army.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Kush Kalra against the bar on the appointment of candidates aged 21 to 27 years, both male and female, irrespective of their marital status, in the JAG department.
Initially, only married female candidates were restricted entry into JAG. Pointing out that there is no gender bias in the policy, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma on Wednesday told the court as per a fresh advertisement, even married men candidates won’t be appointed.
“We have said only for training. Because the training is physical and mental and for the 11 months period of training, will not allow either married men or women. There is no gender bias. It is at par with the entire Army and is followed in all sections,” the ASG said.
“We have to train them in arms also. Suppose there is a contingency also, it will create a problem if married people get into training,” he added.
Justice Prasad said, “Marriage and training can have no correlation with each other.”
“If 42 days leave is granted or taken in whichever way, the 11 months course is annulled and relegated,” ASG Sharma argued.
Responding to it, the court questioned, “The advertisement says that applications are invited from unmarried males and females. If the person is married and goes for training, then how is that anyway going to affect training?”
Moreover, Chief Justice Sharma also told ASG Sharma to inform the court as to whether the said policy is uniform in the Army or if it differs from course to course basis.
The matter is listed for the next hearing on March 22, 2023.