Give permanent commission to all women officers, SC to Govt; opens doors for command positions in Army

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 17, 2020

In order to curb the spread of the infection in the apex court, preventive measures were immediately undertaken by the Health Ministry

The Supreme Court on Monday opened the way for women in command positions in the Army and directed the Centre to grant permanent commission to all women officers within three months.

A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud termed as ‘disturbing’ the government’s argument of physiological limitations and social norms for denying women officers command posts and said they had brought laurels to the country in the past.

Marking a milestone on the road to gender parity in the Army, the Apex Court called for a change of mindset on the part of the government to put an end to gender bias in the armed forces and said there will be no absolute bar on giving women command postings.

The Bench, however, clarified that deployment of women officers in combat roles is a matter of policy, as held by the Delhi High Court, and the competent authority has to look into it.

Slamming the Centre, the court said despite no stay on the 2010 Delhi High Court verdict allowing grant of permanent commission to women officers, the government showed scant regard in implementing the directive for over a decade.

“There is no reason and justification for the Union of India not to act as per the Delhi High Court verdict. On September 2, 2011, the Supreme Court has clarified this aspect and said there is no stay on the High Court verdict. Despite that, scant regard has been paid to the verdict of Delhi High Court and the order of Supreme Court as well,” the bench said.

The Bench said the Centre’s submission of physiological limitation is based on flawed notions and there is no constitutional basis to deny them equal opportunity.

There are 1,653 women officers in the Army, 3.89 per cent of the total number of officers.

The top court said permanent commission can be given to women officers in the Army irrespective of their tenure of service. It directed the Centre to grant permanent commission within three months to all women officers in Army opting for it.

Published on February 17, 2020

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