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SC Raps Centre On Fitness Criteria While Granting Permanent Commission To Army Women

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Supreme Court comments on the fitness criteria for permanent commission for women in the Indian Army: The Supreme Court of India told the Centre that it had overlooked several years of meritorious service by women officers in the Army while asking them to meet the medical fitness standards on the date of their consideration for the posts.

“They are senior officers of the Army and some of your best candidates, but you are not even looking at this. Even the subsequent honours and awards are not considered,” said Justice Chandrachud. He further added that the Centre ignored “years of meritorious service rendered post the fifth year or the tenth year” by women officers in the Army and asked for SHAPE-1 (Psychological, Hearing, Appendage, Physical and Eyesight) certification whenever it wanted.

“This shows how warped it is. Is the idea to exclude women or to give them equal opportunity?” Supreme Court asked Centre today.

Last year, the Supreme Court of India had instructed the Centre to grant permanent commission to women officers in a historic decision. In its February 17 verdict, the apex court rejected the Centre’s stand of women’s physiological limitations as being based on “sex stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”. Following which in July 2020, the Ministry of Defence has finally issued a formal government sanction letter that sanctioned the grant of Permanent Commission (PC) for women officers.

However, close to 60 women officers moved SC late last year, alleging that they were denied a permanent commission in the Army on the grounds of medical fitness.

Image Credit: The Week