Why is Body Tattoo A big Deal During the Defence Selection?


Youngsters have been betting on different styles and inking tattoo is one of those styles that attracts youth these days. Earlier, getting a tattoo inked on the body isn’t quite acceptable but it has become acceptable in today’s time. Families have now been allowing their kids to get a tattoo done.

However, this can’t be say in the case of Indian Defence Forces. The Indian Defence Forces have a strict policy for tattoo. Any candidate with tattoo cannot be recruited in the Indian Defence Forces except those who have tattoo on a specified portion of arms.  If a candidate belongs to any tribe where inking tattoo is in their tradition and custom is permitted in the Defence Forces.

Recent case:

A case came in the limelight lately where a man’s appointment for the post of airman gets cancelled because he had carved a permanent tattoo on the external side of his forearm. The judiciary ruled in the favour of policy when the Delhi High Court upheld this decision of Indian Air Force. The court ruled by stating that the right to decide on the acceptability or to deny on the acceptability lies with the selection committee.

The reason behind the strict policy:

The Defence forces does not permit its candidate to ink tattoo because with tattoos, the chances of having skin diseases increases. According to them, the permanent tattoo is a health hazard. These hazards lead to infections, blood-borne diseases i.e., Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, HIV risks, allergy, tetanus etc.

Sometimes, with the use of unhygienic needles used by tattoo artists can spread deadly virus into the body. The defence could not afford HIV tests as tests are too expensive.

What kind of relaxations are in the policy:

Personnel from Indian Defence Forces are permitted to have tattoo on the backside of palm and inner part of the arm from elbow to the wrist with certificate from a doctor. Also the tattoo can be name or a religious symbol only.

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The candidates who have tattoos on other parts such as legs, neck are not eligible for the defence forces.

For candidates who belong to any tribe:

According to Government’s declaration, candidate from any tribal communities(come under India Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes Orders Act/Lists) are permitted to ink tattoo on any part of their body. They are exempt from this policy. Only, they have to submit a certificate of belonging to any tribal area.

The candidates are permitted to have tattoos on inner face of the fore arms (inside of elbow to the wrist), Back (dorsal) part of the hand/reverse side of palm. However, the Selection committee has the authority to decide the acceptability of tattoo. Also, the candidates who have tattoo on the permitted area of body have to submit a photograph of the tattoo with type of the tattoo and detail of the size of the tattoo.

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