New Delhi, August 30: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has issued a notice to the government and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on a plea alleging “gender-based discrimination” because there is an 80 per cent quota for women in nursing officer posts.

The Nursing Officer Recruitment Common Eligibility Test (NORCET) 2020 is scheduled to be held on September 8.

The application before CAT has contended that it “ought to interfere as 80 per cent quota is excessive, against equity, and disturbs the balance between quota and merit, which is against the mandate and spirit of various Supreme Court judgments on reservation”, The Print reported.

However, CAT’s Principal Bench, comprising chairman Justice L. Narasimha Reddy and member Pradeep Kumar, refused to stay the recruitment process.

“In case the applicants secure fairly good marks, the nature of steps to be taken can be considered. If, on the other hand, they are not successful, the issue ends there,” it said last week. 

The next hearing in the matter is fixed for 7 October.

The decision to introduce the 80 per cent quota for women was taken by the Central Institute Body (CIB), AIIMS, on 27 July 2019. The minutes of the meeting said the decision was taken after a discussion “on the issue of appropriateness and requirement of female nursing staff in a number of departments/ specialised wards vis-a-vis patient comfort and care”.The notice for the NORCET was issued by AIIMS on 5 August, notifying the tentative vacancies of Nursing Officer (Group-B) posts. This notice said 80 per cent of the posts were reserved for female candidates.

The plea was then filed on 16 August by Ranveer Singh and Sanjay Thalore, both B.Sc. (Nursing) degree holders. They have applied for the post of Nursing Officer in AIIMS Delhi and other newly constituted AIIMS in various cities.

The plea, filed through advocates Gyanant Kumar Singh and Kunal Sinha, said the applicants “did not face such gender-based discrimination while seeking admission in the B.Sc. (Nursing) course”. They have challenged the policy as being “arbitrary, anti-merit, irrational, unfair, unreasonable and a violation of the fundamental and other basic rights of the applicants”.

The plea also contends that “there is no data, research or study to show unsuitability of male candidates who have so far been rendering commendable service in the profession, including during the ongoing fight against Covid-19”.

It adds, “It is unconstitutional as the classification of male and female nurses in separate groups is not based on any intelligible differentia and the classification has no nexus with the object sought to be achieved.”

The plea, therefore, seeks quashing of the decision on the ground that “it is unconstitutional in as much as it violates Articles 14, 15, 16, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India”.

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