HC asks IAF to reconsider claim of candidate with keloid on right forearm - Hindustan Times
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HC asks IAF to reconsider claim of candidate with keloid on right forearm

By, Chandigarh
Nov 28, 2023 08:06 AM IST

In 2017, Ravi Kumar, a resident of Mahendergarh, was declared medically unfit in his second medical examination due to a keloid on his forearm, which developed after the removal of a tattoo

The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Indian Air Force (IAF) to reconsider the claim of a Haryana man who was rejected for the post of airman due to a keloid on his right forearm within six months.

The candidate approached the high court in 2017 challenging a July 2017 certificate whereby he was declared unfit. (Getty Images/Purestock)
The candidate approached the high court in 2017 challenging a July 2017 certificate whereby he was declared unfit. (Getty Images/Purestock)

In 2017, Ravi Kumar, a resident of Mahendergarh, was declared medically unfit in his second medical examination due to a keloid on his forearm, which developed after the removal of a tattoo.

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“The petitioner at the first instance was found medically fit and in the second medical examination, he was found unfit on the sole ground that keloid has developed on his right arm. The keloid had developed on account of the removal of the tattoo. It means there was no tattoo on the arm of the petitioner at the time of the first as well as second medical examination, however, there was keloid which developed on account of the removal of the tattoo,” the bench of Justice Jagmohan Bansal observed while issuing the directions that his claim be reconsidered and he is subjected to fresh medical examination within six months.

Kumar had participated in the selection process in 2016-17 for the posts of airmen.

He approached the high court in 2017 challenging a July 2017 certificate whereby he was declared unfit. He had cleared a written test and subsequently was found medically fit at the first instance. He had to undergo a second medical test as his joining could not take place within six months, for which period the certificate was valid. It was in this examination that he was declared unfit as keloid developed because the petitioner removed a tattoo that was imprinted on his right arm.

The government counsel had argued that as per prescribed medical standards of the Indian Air Force, a candidate having a tattoo cannot be considered medically fit. The court cannot substitute the opinion of medical experts, it was further argued adding that he had participated in the selection process which took place in 2017 and at present, there is the possibility that no post is lying vacant.

The court took note of a decision by the Madras high court in the KM Manojkumar case in which it was held that the formation of keloid is a condition of healing of skin and is not a permanent deformity, thus, a candidate cannot be rejected on the ground of formation of keloid.

It also took note of another case from the Bombay high court, Hardik Ramesh Kumar Vaghela case in which the court had observed “We cannot lose sight of the fact that in tradition-bound societies, tattoos are inscribed on the body, often during early childhood, under the belief that it would protect the child from evil influence or bring luck. Such a traditional practice, ordinarily should not come in the way of public employment unless there is an overwhelming justification for the same, in the context of the duties of the particular post. Nor does it appear to be an irreversible medical condition”.

Allowing his plea, the court said there was no delay on the part of the petitioner in approaching the court. The matter has been pending before this court for the last six years and the petitioner cannot be blamed for the delay, the bench further recorded.

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