SSC cannot bar tattooed person from selection in service, rules tribunal

  • Soibam Rocky Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 02, 2016 09:40 IST
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A person cannot be declared unfit for selection as a subinspector in Delhi Police or the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) just because he has tattoo marks on his body, the Central Administrative Tribunal has said.

Rules on tattoo marks on the body in the recruitment process of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) have been a grey area due to a lack of clarity on the terms and conditions contained in the recruitment notice.

There is no bar in recruiting candidates in the CAPFs, Delhi police and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) with permanent tattoo as per the SSC recruitment rules.

However, a 2012 home ministry notification allowed candidates with a “small engraving/tattoo of name or religious symbol on the inner face of the arms or hands” for enrolment, but said, “Candidates having permanent tattoo on any other part of the body be debarred for recruitment in CAPFs…”

This ambiguity on recruitment rules was the subject matter of a petition filed at the tribunal by a young man who wanted to join the services but was declared medical ly unfit due to a “large tattoo on the right arm”.

The man had contended that as per the opinion of a medical practitioner, the tattoo on his right arm would not affect the discharge of duties.

The tribunal took cue of an identical case decided by the tribunal last year, in which another man was declared medically unfit as there were large tattoo marks over his both arms and the nape of his neck. It had held that the SSC ought to have inserted the clause in the recruitment notice clearly stating that a person with tattoo marks would be debarred from recruitment.

It said SSC cannot insert the Centre’s 2012 instructions during the recruitment process as it amounts to changing the terms and conditions of the recruitment notice, “which is impermissible”. “We may add here that a person having tattoo marks cannot be said to have suffered from any physical defect, or any disease, which is likely to interfere with the efficient performance of duties by him/her, if he/she is appointed to any of the posts advertised in the recruitment notice,” the tribunal had noted.

Quashing the review medical board’s report declaring the man as medical ly unfit, the CAT directed the SSC to consider his candidature for “selection and appointment in accordance with the terms and conditions of the recruitment notice within a period of three months,” the tribunal ordered.

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