The Supreme Court (SC) has granted relief to women candidates who failed to appear for the physical examination for the selection process for Bihar Police in 2018 due to pregnancy. Around 73 women had missed the Physical Efficiency Test (PET) in 2018 on account of being pregnant, and apart from granting relief, the SC also directed the Bihar Police Subordinate Service Commission to conduct a fresh test for such applicants.
This comes after Khusbu Sharma filed an appeal challenging the judgment of a division bench of the Patna High Court, which had earlier overturned the order of a single judge of the High Court which had granted relief to her and had instructed the commission to conduct an examination after two months. A bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Krishna Murari instructed the commission to conduct a physical test and also adjust them against the vacancies of the Bihar Police notified this year. The bench stated, "Not only Khusbu Sharma but all such candidates who seek deferment on the account of pregnancy should be allowed to appear for the PET. There should be no delay anymore in the PET as sufficient time has elapsed." The apex court also stated that "only those candidates who qualify the PET and are found in merit as well alone will be eligible for an appointment which is also subject to verification of the factum of pregnancy."
Before taking the matter to court, Khusbu Sharma had earlier approached the commission to seek postponement of the date of physical examination for selection to the Bihar Police, reason being her delivery which was likely to take place in the same month as the examination. Since the Commission did not respond to her representations, she approached the court. The Patna High Court then said that there were 14 other candidates who had approached it and their cases were still pending. The Apex Court also stressed on the significance of lady members in the police force, considering the crime rate against women.