The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued a notice to the State Bank of India (SBI) for its guidelines terming over three-month pregnant women as ‘temporarily unfit’ and preventing them from joining work.

The Commission’s chairperson Swati Maliwal tweeted the notice from Saturday, calling the guidelines ‘discriminatory’ and ‘illegal’. “State Bank of India seems to have issued guidelines preventing women who are over three months pregnant from joining service and 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,” she wrote. 

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“The bank seems to have framed rules which state that if a woman candidate is three months pregnant, then she would be considered as temporarily unfit and would not be given immediate joining upon her selection. This is a very serious matter. This action of the bank appears to be discriminatory and illegal as it’s contrary to maternity benefits provided under the Code of Social Security, 2020,” the notice said.

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The circular for new recruits or promotees from the State Bank of India (SBI) dated December 31 reportedly stated that these pregnant women may be allowed to join within four months after their delivery. 

“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,” the medical fitness and ophthalmological standards for new recruits at the bank state, according to a PTI report. 

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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.

(With inputs from PTI)