Chest Measurement Test For Female Forest Guard Recruits ‘Arbitrary’ & ‘Outrageous’.

Size of a woman’s chest should not be a determinant of her strength or suitability for the role.

Attention India
3 Min Read
  • The “lack of sensitivity” displayed by administrative authorities.
  • ‘minimum chest circumference’  baffling and unjustified.
  • Gender-specific physical attributes are concerned.

17th August 2023, Mumbai: In a significant and progressive verdict, the Rajasthan High Court denounced the recruitment eligibility criteria for the Forest Guard position, particularly the imposition of a chest measurement test for female applicants. The Court’s ruling labeled this criterion as ‘arbitrary’, ‘outrageous’ and demeaning to the dignity of women. Justice Dinesh Mehta, leading the bench, emphasized that the size of a woman’s chest should not be a determinant of her strength or suitability for the role.

Call for Sensitivity and Reevaluation

Expressing concern over the “lack of sensitivity” displayed by administrative authorities in formulating such hiring policies, the Court directed the order to be communicated to key officials, including the Chief Secretary, the Secretary of the Forest Department, and the Secretary of the Department of Personnel in the Rajasthan Government.

The Court urged a reevaluation of the criteria, suggesting consultations with experts to find alternative means for assessing lung capacity without subjecting women candidates to unwarranted humiliation.

Verdict’s Background and Implications

The case stemmed from a writ plea filed by three candidates who had participated in the Forest Guard Exam but were rejected due to the chest measurement criterion despite clearing the Physical Efficiency/Standard Test. While the Court upheld their disqualification due to non-compliance with the criteria, it expressed shock at the Forest Department’s standards and urged reflection upon their parameters.

The Court firmly stated that the rationale behind prescribing a ‘minimum chest circumference’ for female candidates was baffling and unjustified. The bench acknowledged that tests to determine lung capacity were understandable, but the requirement of chest measurement seemed ludicrous. The Court pointed out that modern methods and other physical fitness tests could be adopted instead, as seen in Police Constable recruitments.

Significance Of The Verdict

The Rajasthan High Court’s verdict highlighted the importance of gender-sensitive recruitment policies and the need to ensure that selection criteria do not compromise the dignity and self-respect of applicants. The ruling encourages a broader perspective in establishing fair and relevant assessments for candidates, particularly when gender-specific physical attributes are concerned.

ASC Priya

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