A married daughter continues to be a daughter in the same way as a son, the Karnataka High Court observed while quashing a guideline issued by the Sainik Welfare Board, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.

Justice M Nagaprasanna passed the order in response to a petition filed by the 31-year-old daughter of Army Subedar Ramesh Khandappa Police Patil, who died while clearing mines during the military mobilisation along the India-Pakistan border in 2001.

The petitioner, Priyanka Patil, approached the High Court in 2021 after the Sainik Welfare Board declined to issue a dependent card to her as she was married. She had sought the card as she wanted to avail of the state government’s 10% reservation for the relatives of ex-defence personnel during the recruitment of assistant professors in 2020.

The Sainik Welfare Board, while declining her application, had cited a rule that dependent cards could only be given to unmarried persons in cases involving women. However, the High Court allowed her petition on January 2.

“If the son remains a son, married or unmarried; a daughter shall remain a daughter, married or unmarried,” the court said, according to The Indian Express. “If the act of marriage does not change the status of the son; the act of marriage cannot and shall not change the status of a daughter.”

Justice Nagaprasanna said that the welfare board’s guideline was a “depiction of gender stereotypes which were existent decades ago, and if permitted to remain would be an anachronistic obstacle in the march towards women’s equality”, Live Law reported.

The court also struck down the portion of the guidelines that stated that dependent cards could only be given to unmarried daughters of former defence personnel.

The judge also urged the Union government not to refer to former defence personnel as ex-servicemen and to use a gender-neutral term instead.

The court told the welfare board to issue a dependent card to Priyanka Patil if she met all the other criteria for it.