Women officers from the Navy have decided to file a contempt of court case in the Supreme Court as the Navy has failed to reinstate and extend permanent commission to them. The Delhi High Court had on September 4 said that women officers serving in the Navy should be offered permanent commissions once they complete their short service stints. The court’s deadline ended Friday.
“We have told our lawyer to file a contempt of court in SC. It will be filed within a week. We have not heard anything from the Navy regarding extension of permanent commission to us,” a petitioner said.
The HC, while hearing the plea, had slammed the “sexist bias” that appears to have “blocked the progress of women”.
The bench was hearing six pleas filed by 17 Navy women officers from logistics, Air Traffic Control and education branches. While nine of them are serving, eight are retired.
The petitioners said they were hopeful they would be reinstated following the HC order. What also gave them hope was an announcement on October 8 by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who said the Indian Air Force had mooted a proposal to induct women in IAF combat wings.
Raha’s comments were followed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement that a policy decision on women in combat role would be rolled out soon. Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan, too, indicated on October 14 that such a thought is gathering steam in South Block.
“Women in combat and permanent commission may be two different issues. But the fact that the ministry is working towards overcoming the sexist bias is a positive sign. We are hopeful the implementation of HC order is carried out in the same spirit,” said a petitioner.