SC for permanent commission to women in army within 3 months

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 2/18/2020 12:30:17 PM

NEW DELHI, Feb 17: The Supreme Court on Monday upheld Delhi High Court's 2010 order, giving three months to the Modi government to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army with retrospective effect, except for the combat roles.
The Bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta hit out at "gender sterotype" in prejudice against women while directing grant of permanent commission to all women officers who opt for it, including command postings if eligible except the combat positions.
The ruling came in a Centre's appeal against March 2010 verdict of the High Court to give permanent commission to women officers on Short Service Commission. The Apex Court did not stay the High Court verdict while issuing notice to the women officers who had moved the High Government.
It snubbed the Centre for its argument that women were "physiologically weak" to be given permanent commission and command appointments. “The Centre’s submissions that women are physiologically weak are based on a deeply entrenched stereotype that men are dominant and women are basically caretakers. Taking care of family is a woman’s job. This is deeply disturbing,” said the SC.
The court said the government's claim of absolute bar on women being given command posts violates Article 14 and absolute exclusion of women in such appointments is not justified.
It pointed out how the Centre delayed for nine years before a notification in 2019 to allow permanent commission to women in eight streams.
The step by the Centre to give permanent commission to short service commissioned (SSC) women officers in ten streams is a recognition of constitutional mandate, held the SC.
However, the court said that the policy to deny permanent commission to SSC women officers on the grounds that they have crossed 14 years of service will be a travesty of justice. It should apply equally to all who are currently in service even if they have crossed 14 years of service, it held.
In February 2019 the government rolled out a policy of granting permanent commission in ten branches of the Army -- Judge Advocate General, Army Education Corps, Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Intelligence. But the benefit was not applicable retrospectively, thus ruling it out to the women officers in the job now.



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