Permanent commission in Army, Navy: SC to hear women Army officers’ pleas today

The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear a batch of petitions on a plea by women officers in the Indian Army who had approached the top court over non-implementation of its order to grant them a permanent commission.

The petitions demand direction that contempt proceedings be initiated against those who had allegedly failed in their duty to comply with the apex court`s earlier judgement. The top court earlier ordered that the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service. 

It also ordered that after the judgement of the Delhi High Court, the Centre should grant permanent commission to women officers. Last year, the SC had ordered the Central government to grant Permanent Commission (PC) to them in the Army`s non-combat support units on par with their male counterparts. A bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Dr D Y Chandrahud, and also comprising Justice M R Shah, earlier fixed the matter for a final hearing to February 24.

One such petition was filed by one woman officer, through her lawyer, Chitrangda Rastravara and Advocate on Record (AOR) Archana Pathak Dave, before the Supreme Court seeking its immediate direction to implement its earlier order.

The Army, however, claimed that out of 615 women officers, there are 422 who are eligible and found fit for PC in the Army. But in reality, only 277 out of 422 have been granted PC and the remaining number i.e. 145 are those officers who are either non-optees or whose result is withheld due to medical and administrative reasons, 193 officers have been denied PC, Chitrangda said.

According to her petition, this figure of 422 is a figure only for good optics and does not truly portray the actual number.  Thus, finding those officers who are non-optees fit for PC and denying the same to optees smacks of gross arbitrariness.

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