Dharnas were staged in several places, including Kozhikode and Kochi, on Wednesday with employees of the Karnataka-based bank holding placards 'end the cruelty', protesting against the new format.

When contacted, a top bank official in Bangalore said the new format had been withdrawn last week itself following objections.

Canara Bank Staff Union Central Committee member and BEFI state Secretary SS Anil Kumar said the bank recruited over 1,000 clerical employees across the country, including 300 for Kerala, in the latest appointments.

Around 150 new clerical staff, who joined duty on July 7, had been asked to produce their medical reports stating whether they were suffering from ailments including hypertension, diabetes, TB, cancer, HIV positive, hepatitis or any other chronic or contagious diseases.

Instructions had been given stating that if the candidates were found to be suffering from any of the chronic ailments, they would not be recruited, Kumar said.

The women recruits had been asked to give an account of their menstrual history, last menstrual date and whether they were suffering from any ailments relating to breast or womb.

"The candidates were being recruited for clerical work in the bank and not for the Army," Kumar said, adding, such stipulations were against constitutional provisions on right to live and right to work.

He claimed this was the first time such stipulations have been brought in for new joiners in a public sector bank.

In Bangalore, Canara Bank General Manager (HR) Shyamalendu Saha said, "Yes such information was sought. Many other banks follow this process and ask for such information, however, we withdrew it around last week as soon as we received some objection stating why such personal information needs to be shared."

He said, "The next batch is joining us on 21st of this month. In fact, we have asked them not to fill in the format sent to them asking for such details. They have been informed about it individually."

A bank official in Kerala said no new recruits protested against the format.


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