The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Saturday issued a notice to SBI seeking withdrawal of its new rules wherein a woman who is over three months pregnant will be considered "temporarily unfit" and she may be allowed to join within four months after delivery. State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest lender, could not immediately be reached for comment.
"State Bank of India seems to have issued guidelines preventing women who are over 3 months pregnant from joining service & have termed them as ‘temporarily unfit’. This is both discriminatory and illegal. We have issued a Notice to them seeking withdrawal of this anti women rule," DCW Chief Swati Maliwal tweeted. In the notice, the panel sought a copy of the new guidelines as well as a copy of the similar rules operational before this. It has also sought an action taken report in the matter.
The bank's move has elicited criticism from some quarters, including from the All India State Bank of India Employees' Association. In its latest medical fitness guidelines for new recruits or promotees, the bank said a candidate would be considered fit in case of pregnancy which is less than 3 months. "However, if pregnancy is of more than three months, she will be considered temporarily unfit and she may be allowed to join within four months after delivery of child," as per the medical fitness and ophthalmological standards for new recruits and promotees dated December 31, 2021.
Earlier, women candidates with up to six months of pregnancy were allowed to join the bank subject to various conditions. The conditions include furnishing a certificate from a specialist gynaecologist that her taking up bank's employment at that stage is in no way likely to interfere with her pregnancy or the normal development of the foetus, or is not likely to cause her miscarriage or otherwise to adversely affect her health.