'Patriarchal': Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Army Nurse Fired Over Marriage

The Supreme Court held that the Nurse's Release from the Military Nursing Service was wrong and illegal.
'Patriarchal': Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Army Nurse Fired Over Marriage
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Calling it a "coarse case of gender discrimination", the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to pay Rs 60 lakh as compensation to a military nurse who was removed from service in 1988 after her marriage, according to a report in Live Law.

"Acceptance of such a patriarchal rule undermines human dignity and the right to non-discrimination," a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said.

The top court said Lt. Selina John's release from the Military Nursing Service was wrong and illegal. The bench also noted that a rule that allowed dismissal from the Military Nursing Service on grounds of marriage was withdrawn in 1995.

"Laws and regulations based on gender-based bias are constitutionally impermissible. Rules making marriage of women employees and their domestic involvement a ground for disentitlement would be unconstitutional," the Supreme Court said.

The court was hearing an appeal by the Centre challenging an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal that had called for the reinstatement of John.

The Supreme Court ordered the Centre to pay Rs 60 lakh to John within eight weeks.

Selina John was selected for Military Nursing Service in 1982 and joined as a trainee at Army Hospital, Delhi, as per a report in The Times of India.

On 1985, she was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the Military Nursing Service and was posted in Secunderabad. Three years later, she got married to an Army officer.

On August 27, 1988, she was sacked from the Army without serving any show cause notice. She was not even given any opportunity to plead her case.

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'Patriarchal': Supreme Court Orders Compensation for Army Nurse Fired Over Marriage

John then filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court against her termination. The High Court asked her to approach the tribunal first. The Armed Forces Tribunal, Lucknow, asked the Centre to restore her job in 2016. The government had then moved the Supreme Court.

Source: India Today

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