Irrespective of the years served in the Indian army, women officers have now been granted Permanent Commission (PC). In a landmark judgment on Monday, the Supreme Court (SC) criticised the central government for not following the Delhi High Court’s 2010 order granting Permanent Commission to women officers in the Indian Army. Supporting the Delhi High Court’s order, the Supreme Court said that the Permanent Commission will apply to all women officers in the Army in service.
Commander, GG Salokhe said, “It’s a very good decision by the Supreme Court because the mindset of the society has change. This move will prove that women are not weaker sex and they should be treated on par with men officers in the Army.”
The Supreme Court feels that veering off granting command posting to women officers in Army is irrational and against equality. It is vulnerable to deny women command posting and a blanket ban on command posting for them cannot be sustained in law.
Major BJ Thapa said, “I endorse and fully support the Supreme Court judgment that women should be given equal opportunities in defence forces. Women officers are very energetic, hardworking, dedicated and they understand their job.”
This decision of the Supreme Court has opened the doors for women to command military units, such as logistics, signals or engineer regiments, thus placing them in the position of leading bodies of 500-600 men in combat support duties.
Lt Col, SD Naik said, “The decision of the Supreme Court for Permanent Commission of women officers in Army is a landmark and welcome. And I guess this will prove to be very good for the Indian Army. Initially, it was Short Service Commission for women and now they have been given permanent commission. This will bring more stability in their personal lives and in the life of the regiment they are in.”
Apart from this, the apex court said that women officers in the Indian Army will be on par with their male counterparts and will be allowed the “command and criteria appointments.” The Supreme Court also directed the Centre to grant Permanent Commission to all women officers in the Army within three months who opt for it. Appointments of women officers shall be the same as their male counterparts.
The “physiological features” do not define their rights. Women will have the career opportunities and prospects than that of male officers. This mentality of the people has to be changed, the apex court maintained.
According to Mr. Ajay Rastogi and Justice DY Chandrachud, women work equally like men and the submission made by the Centre is based on gender discrimination as well as stereotypical. The SC noted, “Centre, by not giving Permanent Commission to women officers had prejudiced the case.”
Earlier, the Centre in an affidavit had said that women who had completed 14 years of Short Service Commission (SSC) will be allowed to remain in service till they completed 20 years of service. And after that, only they will become eligible for pensionary benefits thus implying that they will not be granted Permanent Commission.
However, opposing the Centre’s plea, the Supreme Court said that the Permanent Commission is not only limited to those who have served 14 years in the SSC, but others should also be granted permanent commission.
It’s been reported that, last year ten branches of the Indian Army had granted Permanent Commission to women officers. The branches in which the Centre inducted the Permanent Commission for women were such as signals, engineers, army aviation, army air defence, electronics and mechanical engineers, army service corps, army ordinance corps and intelligence.