Last evening, we received a message on our Twitter account which read as follows:
We are 5000 men from Gujarat, all of us passed exam of police constable in 2019. Our government increased the number of vacancies for girls, not a single male Our constitution says girls reservation is 33% but in the LRD exam after girls protested & trump arrived in Ahmd, govt gave appointment orders only to girls & not a single order to male candidates This time ineligible girls are doing jobs in police but we are unemployed. Since 9 months we have protested but everytime we face FIR
Message From Someone Affected:
“We are 5000 men from Gujarat, all of us passed exam of police constable in 2019. Our government increased the number of vacancies for girls, not a single male
Our constitution says girls reservation is 33% but in the LRD exam after girls (1/2)
— Men’s Day Out (@MensDayOutIndia) December 14, 2020
When we read up about the matter here’s what we found in several articles reported by The Indian Express on the same.
Hundreds of male job aspirants from Gujarat have been running an online campaign, with hashtag #Justice_LRD_Male, seeking ‘justice’ for them in the recruitment of Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) on the ground of gender equality.
The recruitment for the LRD was announced in 2018 and after the written examination, women candidates from various communities getting social reservation had staged marathon 24×7 protest for around 70 days at Satyagrah Chhavani in Gandhinagar. They were protesting against an August 2018 GR that barred them from competing in the open competition category within the 33% women’s reservation.
Against them, some women candidates, who were not getting social reservation, had also started agitating in support of the 2018 GR. Eventually, the state government had brought in a compromise formula of declaring supernumerary vacancies for women by announcing a cut off mark of 62.5 out of 125 marks in the examination. The state government had also announced to set aside the controversial 2018 GR for the instant LRD recruitment.
Gender Discrimination With Male Candidates
Now, in a turn of events, the LRD male job aspirants have been protesting since February this year, after the state government, announced over 2,000 supernumerary posts for women in the recruitment.
The male job aspirants want similar supernumerary posts for men to bring not only gender equality, but also a balance of 33% female and 67% male candidates in any government recruitment.
In May 2020, of the leading protesters Kamlesh Solanki from Surendranagar had quoted to the Indian Express:
After the agitation from the women over the GR of August 2018, the Gujarat government struck a compromise with them by having 2,485 supernumerary posts for them. If the government is declaring such additional vacancies for women, they must do it for men also. But, they have not done so and it is violation of gender equality.
Adding further Solanki said,
Apart from that, according to a GR of Gujarat government of 2014, in any government recruitment, the ratio of 33% women and 67% male should be maintained. But here, after those supernumerary vacancies for women, the ratio is not maintained in the LRD recruitment. Therefore, we are demanding announcement of appropriate supernumerary vacancies for men so that the ratio of 33% women and 67% men is fulfilled.
Solanki also informed media that they had an informal group of around 3,500 male LRD job aspirants who were protesting with their demands for the past around three months then. He said,
Initially, we protested on ground. However, immediately after that, the lockdown was imposed. So now, we are registering our protest on social media. Apart from floating this hashtag – #Justice_LRD_Male, we have also been sending text messages and emails to various state and central authorities with our demand.
Another protester, Suresh Gelot from Banaskantha said that they very happy for the women who got justice and jobs after their agitation. However, he said that #MenToo were also demanding justice. He expressed that declaring supernumerary vacancies for women candidates and not for male was gender discrimination. In May this year, Gelot added,
Currently, we are protesting on social media and through virtual means. But, once the lockdown is over, we will come on streets to register our protest.
Solanki said that they had been trying to reach out to various authorities of the state government with their demand, however, nobody was engaging with them on the issue. This is when they decided to approach court.
Petition in Gujarat High Court
The Gujarat High Court in September this year issued notice to the state government in a petition moved by 187 male candidates who had applied for LRD recruitment but could not find a place in the merit list “by a whisker or few marks” owing to the “illegal and unconstitutional process culminating into appointments of more than 12,000 LRD candidates, men and women.”
The LRD aspirants who have filed the petition through their advocate Anand Yagnik has sought for quashing and setting aside of the entire recruitment process undertaken pursuant to a August 2018 advertisement, along with the annulment of the appointments given.
They have also prayed for a recruitment process afresh on the ground that the recruitment of more than 12,000 LRDs is in violation of a judgment passed by a division bench of the High Court on August 5 this year where a controversial general resolution (GR) was quashed and set aside and the court had held that women from reserved category can compete in the open competition category within the 33% of women’s reservation in the government recruitment.
The male petitioners have stated in their petition,
In the name of maximum representation to be given to women candidates… the respondents have given a go-by to the rational of adopting cut off marks and thereby sacrificed merit in order to, by way of sham and camouflage, justify, legalize and validate merit list of about 8,000 candidates prepared in the month of November, 2019 in violation of principle of reservation also meant for women…
Right to Die
In a recent development last month, once again several male aspirants for the LRD began to submit memorandums to district collectors across the state seeking permission to exercise their ‘right to die’ after they were allegedly stopped from holding peaceful protests in connection with their demand for supernumerary posts for men in the recruitment process.
Gehlot once again quoted to The Indian Express,
While the Chief Minister has been making statements that there is no agitation related to the government recruitment process in the state. (However), if we assemble for protests, the government is misusing the police force and slapping criminal charges on us. In such a situation, we are not left with any other option to make our voice heard than to seek permission to die.
Rajan Thakkar, an aspirant from Ahmedabad, told the IE,
The government is not allowing us to pro-test by detaining us but also imposing serious criminal charges against some candidates that may prevent them from getting government jobs in future as well. Therefore, we have submitted this memorandum (seeking permission to die).
According to the agitators, the supernumerary posts for men in LRD recruitment was necessary to ensure gender equality and create a balance of 33 per cent female and 67 per cent male candidates in government jobs. As per a 2014 General Resolution, the state government has to maintain the ratio — 33 per cent female and 67 per cent male — of candidates in any government recruitment.