The Indian Navy has opened its Provost branch for its women officers who can now volunteer and get inducted in this role. Provost is the Indian Navy’s policing branch, that ensures maintenance of law and order.The positions in this branch have so far been reserved for Navy’s male-officers. “Any officer who is in the navy, of a particular service and age, has the option to volunteer for this particular branch. So it’s not a new profile which has been created for women officers but a men-only post that’s opened for women officers who are already in the Navy,” sources from Indian Navy tell SheThePeople.

Who is a Provost?

A Provost is a branch in the Navy and Provost-Marshal is the designation of officers working in it. “The branch is related to ensuring and enforcing the discipline within all Naval Ships and establishments. This also includes actions related to discipline of the Naval Personnel outside the establishment as well (which is similar to policing duties within the Service). The duties related to this post are maintenance of law and order, prevention of irregularities and offenses, breach of security and discipline, custody of offenders etc,” said an officer from the forces.

The women officers along with male officers can apply till May and after they are selected, all the officers will undergo training, post which they will be inducted, as per sources. Furthermore, sources tell us that this position opened up for women officers in around May last year. But at that time when the requirement arose, the Navy officials just put out a notification saying that officers can apply for it, without mentioning if they wanted applications from both male officers and female officers, and that the position is gender-neutral now. What we did this year is that we specified that we are calling applications from our female officers as well so there is no confusion around the issue, said a Navy official.

For the first time in history, Naval women officers will be allowed to become a Provost which essentially an officer maintaining law and order in the forces.

Also read: India’s first female Merchant Navy captain gets bravery award

On if it is a path-breaking move, he said, “From the Navy’s perspective, our intention was to remove any doubts from anybody’s mind. In the Navy,  instructions are a normal part of the job. It is only different when we want only men for some position then we will share it likewise. But we realized that probably there might be some hesitance among women officers to apply for any particular branch or specialization.”

Permanent Commission And Other Progressive Initiative in Forces

Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court granted a permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Navy. The bench by Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Ajay Rastogi said that there cannot be 101 excuses for not granting gender equality in the armed force and it emphasized that women officers should be treated equally.

In November last year, the Indian Navy got its first woman pilot in lieutenant Shivangi who entered Naval operations in Kochi in December. The Navy’s Aviation division has had women officers serving as air traffic control officers and as ‘observers’ in the aircraft who are qualified for information and weapons.

Also read: Lieutenant Shivangi Is The First Woman Pilot Of The Indian Navy

The Supreme Court in February this year also allowed women officers in the army to apply for permanent commission. Now all Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers with less than 14 years of service, as well as above it can apply to get PC. In addition, the Supreme Court has also directed that women officers be made eligible for command posts.

“From the Navy’s perspective, our intention was to remove any doubts from anybody’s mind. In the Navy,  instructions are a normal part of the job. It is only different when we want only men for some position then we will share it likewise.”

“Despite giving us all the extensions I thought that it was unfair to not grant us a permanent commission or an equal opportunity on merit basis. A fair chance to every officer, to appear for the permanent commission, is what matters the most. After that whoever makes the cut, makes it without the onus falling on one’s gender. But when you don’t have that choice then it becomes a little unfair,” a woman army officer told us during an earlier interview.

 

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