In a shocking incident, an unmarried trainee police constable reportedly terminated her pregnancy after she was placed under suspension and debarred from joining training by her commandant for being pregnant.
And even though the state police headquarters found nothing wrong with the pregnancy and revoked her suspension last week, the constable had already terminated her pregnancy. The pregnancy was terminated at 9 weeks, the Times of India reported.
According to the report, the trainee was unmarried at the time of conceiving. This is what prompted Parvez Akhtar, commandant of Bihar Military Police (BMP) 2 to view her pregnancy as an ‘immoral act that violates the service rule’ by the battalion where she was to become a trainee. It was in January that Akhtar suspended her, prompting her to seek abortion services.
When her case file reached Inspector-General A. K. Ambedakar, he argued that there were no grounds for the action taken against the trainee constable. Taking suo motu cognizance of her suspension, the police headquarters had observed that her suspension wasn’t justified since she was an adult woman. “IG (training) A K Ambedakar came to her rescue when the file of her suspension reached his office. Quoting several SC judgements, he recommended the state police headquarters to revoke the woman constable’s suspension,” a source told TOI.
But in the four months that it took for the police to revoke suspension (and even bandy about the idea of maternity leave), the damage had been done. The trainee had already terminated her pregnancy.
The trainee constable, who was supposed to join training at the BMP, has still not been permitted to do so. In fact, commandant Akhtar has initiated departmental proceedings against her. Though her suspension has been revoked, he maintains that she will still be punished for her “immoral act“.
Candidates recruited by the police for training like the one the trainee was preparing to undergo are usually selected based on certain eligibility criteria. Being medically unfit, having not yet recovered from a physical injury, or undergoing pregnancy are some of the things that debar a candidate from pursuing their training. In the present case, a pregnancy was a clear obstruction to the training. However, the police headquarter’s (albeit delayed) decision to grant the trainee maternity leave does seem to be a departure from these rules.
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the trainee constable as M S Dhillon. Dhillon is the Superintendent of Police at Rohtas. The error is regretted.