Granting relief to a man seeking a job in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the Bombay High Court has held that the tattoo on his arm cannot be an impediment in his appointment.
With the CISF refusing job to Shridhar Mahadeo Pakhare, found medically unfit for having a tattoo on his right arm, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the agency to consider his claim for employment stating that it was an admitted position that he would be eligible for the job, except for the fact that he had a tattoo.
Pakhare approached the court after he was refused a job as a constable/driver in the CISF because he had a tattoo.
He contended that the job advertisement did not state that the candidate would be debarred from recruitment to the CISF if the candidate had a permanent tattoo. He said that while he had made efforts to remove the tattoo through laser treatment, it had been removed by 90 per cent and he was making efforts to remove it completely. Moreover, the tattoo in question is a religious symbol and would not interfere with the duties assigned, he contended.
“The religious sentiments of a citizen shall have to be given due weightage and specially while making recruitment to a higher post such exceptions are made. There was no reason for the employer to apply the same parameters and hold the petitioner ineligible. Apart from this, there is no dispute that the tattoo has been removed to the extent of 90 per cent,” observed a bench of R M Borde and R G Ketkar. “It is fairly admitted that the petitioner is otherwise eligible to secure employment and could have been considered except for the reason assigned by the Medical Board.” Pakhare said the decision to hold him unfit for employment is unreasonable and tends to interfere with his religious sentiments.
He argued that in the Armed Forces certain exceptions are made with respect of tattoos, which depict religious symbols or figures and the name and similar exceptions deserve to be made by employers, especially since both the CISF and the Army are disciplined forces.
He stated that the CISF had adopted discriminatory practices in holding candidates eligible for other posts. As far as the post of a sub-inspector in the CISF was concerned, an advertisement in 2017 allowed such tattoos, especially if they were religious in nature.
“The post for which the petitioner applied debars a candidate and holds him medically unfit if any tattoo mark is found on his body. Merely because the post claimed by the petitioner is subordinate to the post of sub-inspector, different parameters with respect of medical fitness cannot be applied,” said the court.
“In our opinion, it would not be permissible for the employer to treat the class of employees differently and apply different parameters,” added the court.
“The respondents (Union of India) are directed to consider the claim of the petitioner for employment to the post of constable/driver in CISF and medical opinion holding the petitioner ineligible on account of tattoo mark shall not be construed as an impediment for issuing an order of appointment in favour of the petitioner,” observed the bench.