Permanent Commission: Explain refusal to some women officers, SC tells Centre
New Delhi, Nov 26: The Supreme Court has sought an explanation from the Centre as to why Permanent Commission was not granted to some women officers.
The government should not take any precipitative action in furtherance of its decision, a Bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indu Banerjee said. This would mean that the women officers who were not given permanent commission would not be relieved from their job without the approval of the court.
An application was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the selection process granting Permanent Commission to 422 women officers out of the 615 applicants in the Indian Army.
The petition was filed by Archana Pathak Dave and Chitrangada Rastravara on behalf of Lt. Colonel Ashu Yadav and 10 others petitioners. The petitioners said that the process was conducted in a prejudicial manner and said that less than half the applicants have actually been granted Permanent Commission and not 422.
Denying Permanent Commission to scores of extremely meritorious and outstanding women officers based on unknown, undisclosed and surreptitious parameters, deviating from the settled norms as applied to gentlemen officers while granting them PC, smacks of gross arbitrariness," the application says.
"If we compare this result of women officers with their male counterparts then, roughly 90% of the total optees for PC in a particular batch is granted Permanent Commission," the application also says.
Nearly 70 per cent of the women officers who were considered for permanent commission in the Army by a special selection board were selected to serve a full term in the Army.
Out of the 615 women considered for the permanent commission, 422 had been found to be fit for the role by the special board. The results were declared last week.
Following a government order in July, the board was convened. The government in July ordered specified grant of permanent commission to women officers in ten streams- Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and Intelligence Corps in addition to the existing streams of Judge and Advocate General (JAG) and Army Educational Corps (AEC).
In August, the Army had set a deadline for the short service commissioned women officers to submit their applications for permanent commission. In February the Supreme Court had held that women should be considered for the command roles and that all women officers are entitled to permanent commission. The Supreme Court had fixed a three month deadline for the same.
While citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre had sought extension by month to implement the verdict.