Can KPSC Appointment Timelines be Altered for Maternity Leave? : SC to Review

Can KPSC Appointment Timelines be Altered for Maternity Leave? : SC to Review

Recently, the Supreme Court decided to examine whether the timelines set in the Notification for selections to public appointments by the Public Service Commission (KPSC) could be adjusted and delayed due to the maternity period experienced by female candidates.

The Kerala Public Service Commission has contested the Kerala High Court's order allowing an extension of time for women impacted by maternity to submit essential qualification certificates before the KPSC publishes the rank list.

The bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah while issuing notice, ordered the following :

" issue notice, returnable on 12th July, 2024. In the meantime, the petitioner-Kerala Public Service Commission is directed to proceed with the process of selection, but shall not declare the result"

According to the notification from KPSC, candidates applying for the position of Assistant Professor (Radiology) are required to have an additional qualification of having completed a one-year senior residency. However, both of the respondents, who are female candidates, lacked this qualification because their completion of house residency was delayed due to pregnancy.

The High Court Division Bench, consisting of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Shoba Annamma Eapen, observed that while women stand on equal footing with men regarding consideration for opportunities in public employment, biological differences such as motherhood can lead to indirect discrimination. Initially, the High Court allowed the female candidates to apply for the post before the deadline provisionally through an interim order, following which they applied accordingly. Subsequently, the challenged order converted the interim relief into a permanent one.

The High Court was addressing the petitions filed by two young female doctors who became mothers while pursuing their postgraduation in MD Radiodiagnosis. Consequently, their mandatory senior residency program began later than usual and is expected to conclude only by mid-January 2024.

During this period, the Kerala State Public Service Commission (PSC) issued a notification inviting applications for the position of Assistant Professor in Radiodiagnosis, which had nine vacancies. One of the criteria for eligibility was a requirement of one year of experience as a Senior Resident in Radiodiagnosis at a NMC-recognized Medical College after obtaining a post-graduate degree. However, since the petitioners would only complete their program by January 2024, they were unable to apply for the notified position as they did not meet the prescribed qualification by the application deadline.

On receiving no favourable response from either the Government or the Kerala Administrative Tribunal, the pleas were filed before the High Court.


Counsel for the Petitioners : Mr. Vipin Nair, AOR, Mr. Arindam Ghosh; Mr. Karthik Jayashankar; Mr. Mohd Aman Alam; Ms. M.B.Ramya,

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