The Gujarat High Court has pulled up Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) for denial of request of a pregnant candidate who asked to postpone her job interview.

The aggrieved female candidate had filed a Special Civil Application against GPSC.

A Single Bench of Justice Nikhil S. Kariel observed, “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.”

Advocate Brijesh K. Ramanuj appeared on behalf of the petitioner.

Factual Background -

The female candidate had applied for the selection to the post of Assistant Manager (Finance and Accounts) Class II in the year 2020 and after the selection process, she was shown as one of the successful candidates in the results declared in 2023 i.e., after three years. The interview as per the GPSC was fixed for her and other candidates on January 1 and 2, 2024. Whereas, on December 18, 2023, she had submitted a representation informing that she was pregnant and the due date was in the first week of January 2024.

She said that it would be impossible for her to travel to Gandhinagar almost 300 km in the advanced stage of pregnancy. She had, therefore, given birth to a child on December 31, 2023 and this fact was informed by her to the GPSC vide an email of the very date. Hence, she requested to postpone the interview or provide an alternative solution for the same. However, GPSC informed her that she should remain present on January 2 for interview and after that no further time could be granted.

The High Court in the above context of the case noted, “In the considered opinion of this Court, such a reply by the respondents reflects absolute gender insensitivity by the respondents 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 3rd day after delivering the child, yet, without considering the request of the petitioner for either postponement or for providing some alternative method had not been considered.”

The Court further said that the Public Service Commission, whose primary duty is to conduct selection process, could not have remained oblivious to such a kind of situation and such a reasonable request had been made, it was incumbent upon it to either postpone the interview process or to provide an alternative solution like an online interview etc. if the same was permissible as per the rules.

“It would also be pertinent to note here that the selection process itself was not something which was going at a lightning pace more particularly since it would appear that for an advertisement which was issued in the year 2020, the results of the examination had been declared by the GPSC only in the month of December 2023”, it also noted.

Accordingly, the High Court issued notice to the respondents returnable on January 12, 2024 and directed the GPSC to not declare results of the interview till its further orders.

Cause Title- Radhika Shankarbhai Pawar v. Gujarat Public Service Commission (GPSC) through Secretary

Click here to read/download the Order