SC grants Centre one more month to give permanent commission to all women officers in Army

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By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 7, 2020 12:23:34 pm

(L-R) Short Service Commission women officers Anjali Bisht, Seema Singh, and Sandhya Yadav flash victory sign after the SC verdict in February (Express photo/Amit Mehra)

The Supreme Court today granted Centre one more month’s time to comply with its verdict that women officers of the Indian Army, serving under Short Service Commission, be considered for grant of Permanent Commission. The extension was granted after the Centre moved the apex court seeking more six months’ time due to the pandemic.

A bench headed by Justices D Y Chandrachud asked the Centre to ensure complete compliance with its directions. The Centre, through the Ministry of Defence (MoD), submitted to the Supreme Court bench that the decision-making process is almost at the final stage and only formal orders remain to be issued.

In February this year, the Supreme Court brought women officers in 10 streams of the Army on a par with their male counterparts in all respects, setting aside longstanding objections of the government. It stated that women officers of the Indian Army, serving under Short Service Commission, be considered for grant of Permanent Commission within three months, irrespective of tenure of service, and also for command posts in non-combat areas since “an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not comport with the guarantee of equality under Article 14”.

Underlining that “women officers of the Indian Army have brought laurels to the force”, the bench described as “disturbing” the attempts to dilute their role “by the repeated pleas made before this Court that women, by the nature of their biological composition and social milieu have a less important role to play than their male counterparts”.

The bench, ruling on an appeal by the Centre against a 2010 Delhi High Court judgment which directed that women officers be considered for permanent commission, criticised the government for not taking steps to implement this. Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi and Senior Advocate Aishwarya Bhati appeared for the petitioners.

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