New Delhi, February 6: A day after the Centre told the Supreme Court that male troops of the Indian Army are not prepared to accept women commanders, the top court on Wednesday told the government that the women commander could be accommodated in non-combat services. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi said that the combat services in the Indian Army form a small part of the force and the women officers could be given command of other areas within the Army. Permanent Commission Granted to Women Officers in Indian Army: Defence Ministry.
The bench suggested that the Centre could consider giving command postings to women officers in NCC and running of Sainik Schools where battlefield rigour is not involved, reported The Times of India. Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, who is representing women officers, told the top court that there was no lack of political will to appoint women commanders in roles other than legal and education. She added there is a lack of administrative will. SC Asks Army to Take Decision on Granting Permanent Commission to 8 Women Officers.
Meanwhile, Senior advocate R Balasubramanian, representing the Centre, said that the government is ready to give permanent commission (PC) to women officers who have served up to 14 years in Army but not for those who served above 14 years. He added that those women officers who have served above 14 years would be allowed to serve up to 20 years without PC and women officers with more than 20 years of service would be released with pensionary benefits.
The court said that the government delayed the policy decision of granting permanent commission to women officers as the Delhi High Court passed the order regarding this in 2010, but the decision was taken in 2019. Adding further, the bench said that if 14 years is the bar to give permanent commission, then those women officers on whose plea the verdict was given, would not get the benefit of permanent commission. The top court also stated that the government should not discriminate the women officers as they also undergo the same selection and fitness test as their male counterpart.
In 2019, the Narendra Modi government allowed women officers in the Indian Army to opt for permanent commission. Women officers will now be granted permanent commission in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where women are inducted for Short Service Commission.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Feb 06, 2020 09:12 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).