Balochistan High Court (BHC) on Thursday declared debarring women candidates from applying for the post of ‘tehsildar and naib tehsildar’ as illegal and unconstitutional. “The condition whereby only male candidates were declared eligible and females were barred for the post of ‘tehsildar and naib tehsildar’ by Balochistan Public Service Commission is illegal and unconstitutional,” BHC ruled directing the provincial government to fix /reserve five percent quota for female candidates only. The divisional bench of BHC comprising Justice Hashim Khan Kakar and Justice Gul Hassan Tareen announced the verdict in a constitutional petition filed by Nargis Sumalani against Revenue Department’s advertisement for the posts of tehsildar and naib tehsildar inviting applications from only male candidates and barring female candidates. The petitioner in her constitutional petition prayed the court to declare that if any rule and proviso exist which debarred female candidates for applying for the post of ‘tehsildar and naib tehsildar’ is void in the eyes of law. She also contended that the court may direct the provincial government to fix quota for female candidates in the said posts and allow female contestants to compete the same on merit as well. “The logical reason for non-eligibility of female candidates for the post of tehsildar does not attract a prudent mind for the simple reason that a number of females are working as superintendents of police, SHOs, assistant commissioners, judges, secretaries and ministers,” the petition further read. After hearing both sides, Justice Hashim Khan Kakar ruled that the impugned condition is tantamount to discrimination which is not permissible under constitution and goes against constitutional mandate of equality and safeguard against discrimination in service. “Balochistan government should re-advertise the posts of ‘tehsildars and naib tehsildars’ and ensure five percent quota for female candidates only,” the verdict read adding besides the reserved quotas, female candidates are also eligible to participate on merit. The vacancies reserved for the women for which qualified women candidates are not available shall be carried forward and filled by women later on. Court in its detailed judgment also asked government to take immediate steps to strengthen the office of the Commission on the Status of Women in order to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the existing laws.