JODHPUR: The Rajasthan high court has expressed shock at the chest measurement criterion for female candidates in a recruitment examination, terming it unequivocally arbitrary and outrageous, affront to a woman’s dignity and a violation of right to privacy guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

Although a single bench of Justice Dinesh Mehta dismissed a petition by three women who had applied for the post of forest guard, since the recruitment process had already been completed, it asked the state government to revisit the “humiliating” eligibility criterion.
The petitioners – Om Kanwar, Vandana Kanwar and Manju Kanwar – had challenged their disqualification on the parameter of chest measurement despite clearing the physical efficiency test.

The petitioners submitted in court that their chest measurements were more than the required specification. The HC sought a report from the AIIMS medical board, which contradicted the petitioners’ claims. Based on the report, the court rejected the petition and upheld the decision of the recruiting agency to disqualify them in an order dated August 10.
However, the court found the parameter disturbing and observed that “some deliberation is necessary about the very requirement of chest measurement” for female candidates.
“The size of the chest and its expansion in case of a female candidate may not necessarily be a pointer of physical fitness and a litmus test of lungs’ capacity. Even if it be so, such measurement impinges upon or intrudes the privacy of a female. Apart from being irrational, prescribing such criterion disrupts the dignity, bodily autonomy and mental integrity of a woman,” the court stated in its order.

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