If women can be posted in Siachen, male nurses too can work in Army: Delhi HC
On one hand, you are talking about empowering women, and on the other, you are saying men cannot join as nurses, the Delhi HC observed.
NEW DELHI: Highlighting gender equality in armed forces, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday remarked that men can be recruited to the post of a nurse in the Indian army while women can be posted at Siachen (the highest battlefield in the world).
Dealing with a plea on the allegedly unconstitutional practice of having only women nurses in military establishments, a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said it is an important issue that requires deliberation.
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition before the high court was challenging the Military Nursing Service Ordinance 1943 and the Military Nursing Service (India) Rules 1944, as they provide that only women can be appointed to the Indian Military Nursing Service.
Appearing for the Central Government, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, said that the practices in the army are based on long-standing traditions, highlighting the government's legislation to grant reservation to women brought on Tuesday only.
To this, the bench remarked: "Yes..in Parliament.. one hand you are talking about empowering women and on the other you are saying men cannot join as nurses," adding "If a woman can be posted in Siachen, then a male can work in R&R (Hospital)."
It was also pointed out during the hearing that the Supreme Court has permitted women to join the National Defence Academy and it has time and again held that there should be no gender bias.
In reply, ASG apprised the high court that the Centre has filed its response in the matter.
Advocate Amit George, representing petitioner Indian Professional Nurses Association, said now there are male nurses in all hospitals and even the apex court has said the practice of excluding one gender from the services has no place even in a military ecosystem.
The high court will take up the matter again in November.