The Supreme Court has sought response of the Madhya Pradesh government on a complaint of a woman denied job despite qualifying for the state civil services twice on the ground that she had entered into a wed lock before the marriagable age.
Ratnarashi Pandey,who was married at the age of 14 and suffered years of abuse before obtaining a divorce and then qualified for the job,has challenged the validity of the provision of MP Civil Services (general condition of service) Rules,1961,contending that she is a victim of child marriage and not an offender.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai issued notice to the state government and MP Public Service Commission and also directed them to keep a seat vacant for Pandey,a mother of two.
“Issue notice. Till further orders,one post in the Madhya Pradesh State Civil Services may be kept vacant for the petitioner,” the bench said.
Pandey,who filed the plea through advocate Neela Gokhale,has challenged the eligibility provision of the rules which states that “No candidate shall be eligible for appointment to a service or post who has married before the minimum age fixed for marriage”.
Pandey had told the court that she was forced into marriage as a minor and had also suffered years of abuse before obtaining a divorce and said the welfare legislations
should not be used to to punish the victim of child marriage.
She said after she qualified for the state civil service the law to discourage child marriage was now being used to deny her a job.
Ratnarashi said she was married at the age of 14 and suffered physical and mental cruelty for next 13 years before getting the divorce.
She then went ahead to qualify for the prestigious job but was disqualified for the same.