(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Prashasti Singh)
The Supreme Court will hear on Thursday a batch of petitions filed by women officers for Permanent Commission in the Indian Army and Navy, seeking a direction that contempt proceedings be initiated against those who had allegedly failed in their duty to comply with the top court’s earlier judgment.
In their petitions, the women army officers have alleged that the directions were not being complied with in “letter and spirit”, news agency PTI reported.
One such petition, filed by Chitrangda Rastravara and Advocate on Record (AOR) Archana Pathak Dave, seeks SC’s immediate direction to implement its earlier order. The Army, however, claimed that out of 615 women officers, there are 422 who are eligible for permanent commission. But in reality, only 277 out of 422 have been granted permanent commission, 145 are those officers who are either non-optees or whose result is withheld due to medical or administrative reasons and 193 officers have been denied permanent commission, the petition said, according to ANI.
In February 2020, the SC had ruled that all serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers should be entitled to permanent commission. It directed the army to give the permanent commission to its officers within three months, irrespective of the number of years they have spent in the armed forces.
While SSC officers can stay in service for a specific period of 10-14 years, permanent commission allows them to work in the army till they retire.
As part of the judgement, the SC had also ended the prohibition on women being considered for command appointments.
Rejecting the army’s argument that male soldiers, who mostly hailed from rural areas, were not “mentally schooled” to accept women officers in command of units, the two-judge SC bench comprising justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi had said that such arguments were an insult to not only women, but also the Indian army.