Women officers told the Supreme Court that the evaluation process for granting them a permanent commission in the Army was discriminatory. The apex court had directed a procedure, but it is not being followed according to the women officers. The SC has now asked them to move a writ petition so that their grievances can be considered.

Reportedly, three women lieutenant colonels approached SC through senior advocate Meenakshi Arora. They told a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph that they were being evaluated for sustainability on grounds that were discriminatory, reported the Times of India. According to the officers, while they had served in the Army for nearly 20 years, the evaluation was being done based on criteria that was fixed for male SSC officers who have served for 5-10 years.

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The applicants said that procedure of granting a permanent commission, “is nothing but a reproduction of existing procedure for gentlemen officers who are evaluated for similar benefits in their fifth and 10 year of service.”

The bench, however, said that since the February 17 judgment directed the Army to grant permanent commission to women short service commission officers in ten streams, it would be improper to entertain this application. The applicants could, however, file a writ petition, the TOI report said.

Justice Chandrachud said, “Women, by the age of 50 years, undergo several biological and hormonal changes. It would be unfair to expect physical fitness levels equivalent to men in the 25-30 years age group.”

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Permanent commission for women

In July this year, Defence Ministry of India issued a formal government sanction letter which directed that permanent commission will be given to all women officers in the Indian Army, in all the ten streams. The sanction came following a landmark verdict on February 17, 2020, in which SC had directed to centre that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission and command postings. While delivering the order, the SC had said, “To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army men and women who serve as equal citizens in a common mission.” Read more about this here.

Image Credit: The Week

Shikha Chandra is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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