Women Army Officers Still Not Promoted Despite Eligibility, SC issues Notice To Centre

Women Commanders In Army, Women Officers At Republic Day Parade, Women At Republic Day Parade
Women in the defence forces have long been trying to prove to their respective units and the country that they are as much capable as their male counterparts. While women have been climbing higher ranks across forces, there is still discrimination that stops them from going forward and acquiring positions they work hard for. It is not only disappointing but also demotivating for women in the army who are being treated below their par and ranks. On Monday, several women officers moved the Supreme Court against the Union Government for differing their promotions which as a result has their juniors superseding them. The women filed a petition stating that despite them being frontrunners for promotions, they have always been neglected and it’s time something should be done about this system.

Thirty-four women army officers moved to the Supreme Court stating that despite their eligibility for promotion, they have been superseded and forced to work under junior male officers. The officers submitted the petition mentioning that most of them had joined the army between 1992 and 2007 and that their efficiency was regarded owing to their gender and they had been overlooked when it came to promotions.

Suggested Reading: Women Army Officers Move SC Over Non-implementation of Its Order On permanent commission

Women army officers move Supreme Court

More than thirty women officers belonging t senior ranks filed a petition on Monday arguing that despite the Supreme Court’s; landmark decision in 2020 ordering the Union government to offer permanent commissions to women in the army, the female officers have still suffered discrimination and that no order has been followed that could grant them their due respect and promotions.

“Would have become Brigadiers by now had we been promoted a decade back alongside male counterparts”

The delay in granting permanent commissions has also left the women officers’ chance of going for study leaves very grim. As per the policy stated by the Indian Army, any officer who opts for study leave or a deputation must have the same number of years served in the army that the leave they have applied for. For example, if an officer is going for three years of study leave, they must have first served for at least three years in the army before considering the same. However, the problem here, according to the petition is that women officers do not have this leverage because officers close to retirement, are unable to avail of this option.

The petitioners belong to the Lieutenant Colonel-rank and stated that despite the delay of almost two years since the SC suggested new rules to ensure there is gender equality in the army, the Defence Ministry has not constituted a Selection Board to promote them to a rank higher than they already are in.

“Forced to work under junior male officers despite being seniors”

As per reports, the petition listed how the officers who were passed over for promotions were instead posted as additional officers, a designation they believe holds no value if they are still supposed to work under junior male officers with less experience than them. The officers stated these posts do not hold a defined role and are being passed off by junior male colleagues. The petition reads: “It is evident that even after the SC ordered a  grant of permanent commission in 2020, women officers are still at the mercy of that is biased and reeks of discrimination.”

No selection board for women, two for men

Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud led the hearing on Monday and issued the notice to the union Government and the hearing on Monday In its hearing on Monday, a bench led by Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud issued a notice to the Ministry of Defence and the Union Government seeking immediate response and investigation on the same. Senior advocate V. Mohana, who was handing over the petition for the officers informed the bench that an order was issued in September and had announced the formation of a selection board to promote only male officers. The CJI, on hearing the petition, directed the government’s representative senior advocate R. Balasubramanian to withhold all promotions until the court hears all sides of the case advising the government to get back with a response to the petition within two weeks.

The women officers submitted evidence saying that the government did not imply the formation of any selection board for senior women officers, despite conducting two for men, and because of this they are now being compelled to serve under male colleagues who are much junior in ranks to them.

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