NEW DELHI: How does marriage affect one's ability to become an officer in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) service, the legal arm of the Indian Army, the Delhi High Court asked today.
The query was posed to the Centre after it submitted before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that now even married men are barred from being recruited in the Army.
The submission came after the court on August 10 had questioned the non-recruitment of married women in the JAG and observed that such acts amount to "hostile and 100 per cent discrimination".
It had made the observation while hearing a PIL by lawyer Kush Kalra claiming there was institutionalised discrimination against married women by not inducting them in JAG service.
The government today contended before the bench that since married men are also barred from being recruited in the Army, after a recent amendment in its recruitment rules, the PIL has become infructuous.
The court, however, did not agree with the contention and questioned the rationale behind barring married individuals from getting recruited in the Army.
"Suppose one gets married and then wants to join JAG service? One can get married at the age of 18 years. How does marriage affect someone's ability to become a JAG officer.
"Right to family is recognised as a part of right to life under Article 21. Apply your mind. There can be no other rationale here, other than somebody's whim. Somebody has got something in their mind against marriage," the bench said.
It said the impact of the change in recruitment rules was that a person should either be unmarried or get divorced if they want to join the Army.
The court did not pass any order and adjourned the matter to November 9 to be heard by the regular bench which was hearing the plea along with another PIL by Kalra on the issue of only gainfully employed men being recruited in the Territorial Army (TA), the second line of defence after the regular Army.
The TA is an organisation of volunteers who receive military training in order to be mobilised for the country's defence in case of an emergency.