Army Nurse Fired 26 Yrs Ago Due To Marriage Gets Justice; SC Calls It Unconstitutional, Gives Full Compensation

Selina John, an army nurse, was fired in 1988 when she got married. The SC has ruled this gender discrimination, and that she must be reinstated and paid compensation for the lost years

26 years is too long to wait, but this time the wait is worth it!

Ex. Lt. Selina John, who was a permanent commissioned officer in the Military Nursing Service, was removed from army service in 1988 on the ground that she had got married. The career of women is as it is tied to a thin string. She has to face criticism from her family, being judged by those deeply ingrained patriarchal thoughts. On top of it, if workplaces create biases like this, there is hardly any hope!

But the Supreme Court announced a historical decision yesterday (21/02/24) Being married cannot be a reason for expelling a woman from work. This leads to gender bias and inequality. We are in 2024, and carrying these patriarchal thoughts would only tighten the shackles and barriers for women.

If a woman does not get married, society keeps traumatizing her, reminding her of the biological clock, increasing age, and other factors. However, if workplaces come up with biases like these, it only adds to the long list of issues that women already have in their lives and are dealing with.

The statement from the Supreme Court read as below

“Acceptance of such a patriarchal rule undermines human dignity and right to non-discrimination,” the court said while hearing an appeal by the Centre challenging an Armed Forces Tribunal order for her reinstatement.

Bringing 26 years of the legal battle of the woman officer to an end, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta directed that Lt Selina John be paid the amount as a full and final settlement of all the claims. Her job was terminated as per the Army Instruction No. 61 of 1977 titled “Terms and Conditions of Service for the Grant of Permanent Commissions in the Military Nursing Service”, but it was withdrawn in 1995 when the litigation was pending.

“Laws and regulations based on gender-based bias are constitutionally impermissible. Rules making marriage of women employees and their domestic involvement a ground for disentitlement would be unconstitutional,” the court added.

How convenient it is to put women in this fix and make them a kettle of fish; Neither letting them marry nor letting them work! Not sure if these 26 years can be reimbursed by the monetary compensation provided by the system. But, thanks to Selina for being hopeful and struggling for 26 long years, at least the Supreme Court had a change of thought. Now it’s employers’ and society’s turn to accept this change.

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About the Author

Nilshree Damani Yelulkar

A mother, homemaker, self-published author, founder, and podcast host at Authoropod. read more...

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