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SC gives govt time to reconsider move on permanent commission to women in Army

Appearing for the women officers, senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati pointed out that the Centre in an affidavit filed in May this year had said that women Army officers who had completed 14 years of short service commission will be allowed to remain in service till they completed 20 years of service so that they become eligible for pensionary benefits.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
November 20, 2019 1:01:16 am
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre against the March 2010 order of the Delhi HC directing the government to give permanent commission to women Army officers (Illustration: CR Sasikumar) 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the government time to have a relook at the move to apply the decision to grant permanent commission to women in the Army only prospectively, thereby denying those who had been fighting for it all these years a chance.

“We can pass an order but we are giving you an opportunity to take credit. These are women in service of the nation. If you give them permanent commission, just think what message you will send to the world,” Justice Chandrachud, heading a two-judge bench, told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain.

The bench, also comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi, said it would hear the matter next on November 28 but not adjourn it any further.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre against the March 2010 order of the Delhi HC directing the government to give permanent commission to women Army officers who are on short service commission. The apex court issued notice on the plea but did not stay the HC order.

Appearing for the women officers, senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati pointed out that the Centre in an affidavit filed in May this year had said that women Army officers who had completed 14 years of short service commission will be allowed to remain in service till they completed 20 years of service so that they become eligible for pensionary benefits, implying they will not be granted permanent commission. She added that the permanent commission decision was only being considered for prospective application.

She said that the situation was only in the Army and that the Air Force and Navy had already been granting permanent commission to women officers in various branches.

On Independence Day last year, PM Narendra Modi had announced the decision to grant permanent commission in the armed forces to women officers who had been selected through short service commission.

In March, the defence ministry announced that women officers inducted through short service commission would be considered for permanent commission in eight more branches.

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