HC for permanent commission for women in defence forces

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New Delhi, May 6 (UNI) The Delhi High Court has asked the chiefs of the defence services to sit together to address the issue of gender bias in the forces and consider the grant of permanent commission to female officers.

The Chiefs have been asked to respond on the issue by September 12.

In a PIL, army officer Babita Puniya, has alleged that women in the armed forces are not treated on par with their male counterparts.

A division bench, headed by Justice S K Kaul, yesterday said, ''They should consider granting permanent commission to female officers on a par with their male counterparts. This issue needs consideration at the highest level.'' The petitioner contended that unlike male officers, women were not granted permanent commission and were forced to retire after 10 years of service despite being fit for the job.

''The action of the Centre and the defence forces is wholly illegal, unjust, and discriminatory and runs counter to the concept of equality enshrined in the constitution,'' said Rekha Pillai, the counsel for Babita Puniya.

''Female officers cannot be discriminated against by declining to grant them permanent commission and by releasing them from service after just 10 years when they are physically fit,'' she said.

Defence Minister A K Antony had recently said it was ''high time'' women were given their due in the armed forces.

UNI SSS RR AS1849

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