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With this verdict, SC has broken the glass ceiling for women officers in Army

In a landmark judgment, the SC has directed the government to grant permanent commission to all women officers in the Army, at par with male officers
New Delhi: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has directed the government to grant permanent commission to all women officers in the Indian Army, at par with male officers. While pulling up the Centre for the lack of respect shown to women officers in the Army, the Supreme Court said that the order must be complied with within three months. Delivering the verdict on Monday, the SC also rejected the Centre’s views on physiological features of women and social norms for denying women permanent commission and said such arguments are against the concept of equality.

‘Centre’s views perpetuate stereotypes about women officers in Army’

The SC bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, said, “To cast aspersions on ability of women and their role and achievements in Army is an insult not only to women but also to Indian Army.” “Despite policy decision, the Centre submitted a note to the Supreme Court which perpetuates sex stereotypes. Arguments by the Centre founded on physical strength of men and women and grounds of motherhood, family etc violate equality,” said the top court. The apex court said that all terms of appointments of women officers in the Army shall henceforth be the same as their male counterparts. It added that women officers, including those who have retired, shall be entitled to all consequential benefits as per the order. The SC also pulled up the Centre for waiting for nine years before coming out with the notification granting women permanent commission in limited streams.

The 2010 Delhi High Court order

In 2010, the Delhi High Court had ordered permanent commission for those who worked in the Short Service Commission of Women Officers (SSCWOs), at par with male officers with full consequential benefit in the Army and Air Force. Interestingly, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had filed an appeal challenging the High Court order. The Centre complied with the Delhi High Court judgment only in February 2019 when it issued a notification, granting commission to SSCWOs in eight streams, including Army Aviation, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps and Intelligence, among others.