The Supreme Court stayed the release of ten women naval officers from the services, as was scheduled for December 31 this year. The apex court granted interim relief to these women in service who are reportedly seeking a grant of permanent commission. SC’s decision comes in regard to two petitions filed by ten women officers of the Indian Navy on the matter.
As per PTI, a vacation bench of justices Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose gave the judgment basis the submissions by advocate Meenakshi Arora on behalf of the women naval officers. The court, during a session held via video conferencing, has directed the centre as well as the Chief of Naval Staff to respond to the petitions of the officers. Further hearing has been scheduled for January 19.
About The Women Officers’ Petitions
Reports claim the petitions have been initiated by ten Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the forces. Names include Lieutenant Commander Annie Nagaraj, who has been involved in the fight to gain permanent commission for women in the navy, after her, and other women officers’, forced retirement in 2008.
In March 2020, in a landmark judgment, the court ruled in their favour, asking the centre and Navy to allow permanent commission for SSC officers. After a plea, the deadline was extended till December 31, 2020, which is when the SSC officers were to be released from services. The SC has now stayed their release.
“We will direct that the matter be listed on January 19 along with pending writ petitions. In the meanwhile, there will be a stay on order of December 18 (on release/retirement of women officers),” the court’s decision reportedly read.
What Is Permanent Commission?
A permanent commission entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike SSC, which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.
In March this year, the SC granted permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Navy. The bench of 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 emphasised that women officers should be treated equally.