CAN A TATTOO SERIOUSILY DECIDE YOUR ELIGIBILITY FOR A JOB? (by: Mansi Sharma)

Ask a tattoo lover who has an ink fever what an amazing feeling it is to have a tattoo on your body, it’s not easy to have something permanent on your body, it’s like a commitment. Often a notion is seen in the society that ones who have a tattoo are not good people or not with a peaceful mind, it’s like another topic for the society to judge you. Well at larger picture if we see who cares what society thinks, but when a recruiter or the Government Sector itself questions or judges you because of a tattoo then no matter what we start to think and care because at the end of the day we need a job which helps us sustain our livelihood.

There are certain government jobs wherein you will not be selected if you have tattoo on your body (before having a tattoo kindly check their policies related to tattoos). IAS, IPS, IRS, IFS, Indian Defence Services, Army, Navy, Air Force there are other also which prohibit having a tattoo, well on certain areas they allow you to have a tattoo else they don’t. Well, we can understand that if a person is having an obscene or a tattoo representing a thing against the public policy it cannot be acceptable because at the end of the day you are either a Government official or an army official who is representing the state, but having a tattoo which showcases your idea of life, or some love one’s picture or name or something else connected to one’s life is no ground to judge or state that person unfit for the job. Some of the reasons given by the authority on the ban of tattoos are – by having a tattoo it increases the risk of contracting HIV or other infections, or permanent tattoo is banned because it may cause skin allergy, skin infection or rashes etc. Some of the Government sector allows you to have a tattoo within limit like you can have a one square inch in size tattoo, one can have a tattoo on their forearm only, or if your tattoo is not too visible then it is no problem, and many more different sectors have different policies.

Shridhar Pakhare applied for the post of constable-cum-driver with CISF, all the required tests were cleared by him but he was denied the position in CSIF because he had a tattoo on his right forearm and as per the rules of CSIF tattoos are not allowed. The tattoo was depicting a religious symbol. He requested a division bench of Justices R M Borde and Rajesh Ketkar that, since army makes an exception for those who have tattoos representing religious symbols, the court should direct CSIF to do the same. The bench agreed with his contention and held that the tattoo would not interfere with the official duties of the petitioner, and he has met all the other eligibility criteria, the CSIF authority must make an exception to their rules for him and even said, “the religious sentiments of a citizen shall have to be given due weightage and especially if while making recruitment to a higher post exceptions are made, there was no reason for the employer to not apply the same parameters for the petitioner.”  

Now let’s, come to the corporate sector, unlike the government sectors the corporate sector doesn’t have such ground rules for prohibiting employing people with tattoo, but it’s the impression which is made, having a tattoo is not something professional in a corporate sector and a common statement which many of you would have heard that people with tattoos are less dedicated or serious towards their work. If you have a tattoo be prepared that you would be asked questions like – why do you have a tattoo? What does your tattoo mean? Do you really think a person with tattoo will be suitable while giving presentations? etc. etc.

Some of you might have another story or an experience that you or somebody who is known to you was not judged or denied a job, I agree that there are such instances also like when you go to a tattoo artist, he will inform you that people happily come to him/her have their tattoo and are employed peacefully at their work places, but let’s not deny the instances wherein people actually get judged or denied because of a tattoo.

While I was writing a questioned came to my mind isn’t our right to life a fundamental right which allows us to have a personal liberty, and in my opinion having a tattoo is well within the ambit of personal liberty no employer, no random person should be allowed to judge you or define or evaluate your capability because of a tattoo. Yes of course in cases like I mentioned before wherein obscene tattoos or a tattoo against the public policy should be refrained as you would be one day representing either the state by being a government employee or any company and it is not morally or ethically right also, but having a tattoo altogether being a ground for judging or evaluating one’s capability without any reasonable reason is unreasonable.

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