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Delhi HC Asks Centre to Walk The Talk on Gender Balance, it Appeals Against Order in Supreme Court

HC had directed the government and UPSC to accept the preference cited for cadre and zone by the second position holder of 2017 - a woman who had missed the deadline for submission online by 29 minutes due to a technical glitch.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:November 23, 2018, 9:29 AM IST
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Delhi HC Asks Centre to Walk The Talk on Gender Balance, it Appeals Against Order in Supreme Court
File photo of Delhi High Court (Picture courtesy: Getty Images)
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, in September, asked the central government and the UPSC to "walk the talk" on their policy for creating a workforce that reflects gender balance.

It had directed the Commission to accept the preference cited for cadre and zone by the second position holder of 2017 - a woman who had missed the deadline for submission online by 29 minutes due to a technical glitch.

Two months later, the government has rather appealed against the order in favour of Anu Kumari, whose "triumph against odds" was described by the High Court as "an inspirational story" for all women in the country.

On a petition by Kumari, second position holder of last year’s UPSC Civil Services Examination, the High Court had accepted her plea for considering the preference cited by her in her form for purposes of allocation of zones and cadre.

The Commission and the government had opposed her petition but the High Court noted that "shutting the door on her face at the very threshold of her career and that too for a delay of a few minutes would deprive the petitioner of her preferences of zones and cadre, thereby negating the criteria of merit, preferences and vacancy available."

An all-woman bench in the High Court had added that Kumari, in spite of securing a second place in the All India ranking, would be faced with a bleak situation where her merit will be given a complete go-by since her preferences would be treated as nil.

It noted that Kumari was a single parent, a working mother who also had to provide for her parents.

She belonged to Harayana - a state where families have not focused much on imparting higher education to girls, said the High Court, emphasising Kumari has broken cultural stereotypes in a country where there is only one woman IAS officer for every 20 male IAS officers.

"The petitioner's triumph against odds makes an inspirational story, likely to ignite thousands of dreams beating in the hearts of several women across the country, who would aspire to emulate or even surpass her achievement," it had then said.

However, the government and the Commission have now appealed against this order. They have also requested the Supreme Court to stay the directive issued by the High Court in September. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the government in the appeal.

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan has agreed to examine the challenge and has sought a reply from Kumari by November 26.

A batch of four other candidates, including a woman candidate, has also challenged the High Court order, contending their prospects were affected because of this order.
| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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