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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Permanent Army commission for women: SC gives Centre one more month to implement order

Allowing the extra time, a bench headed by Justices D Y Chandrachud said the Centre must ensure complete compliance with its directions.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: July 8, 2020 2:23:33 am
(L-R) Short Service Commission women officers Anjali Bisht, Seema Singh, and Sandhya Yadav flash victory sign after the SC verdict in February (Express photo/Amit Mehra)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Centre one more month to implement its direction on permanent commission for eligible women officers in the Army.

Allowing the extra time, a bench headed by Justices D Y Chandrachud said the Centre must ensure complete compliance with its directions.

The court was hearing a plea by the government, seeking six months’ more time to implement the verdict keeping in view the Covid situation.

The Centre’s application said it had “commenced the process of substantial compliance of the directions issued by this Hon’ble Court in earnest and in letter and spirit. However, in view of the Corona pandemic and the ensuing lockdown coupled with exigencies of services, the applicants have not been able to complete the same and requires some more time to complete the process”.

Senior Advocate Aishwarya Bhati and Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi objected to the request for six months and said authorities were trying to stall the implementation of the apex court order.

Senior Advocate R Balasubramanian, appearing for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), denied this and termed it “wild apprehensions”.

The Centre said decision-making is at a final stage and only formal orders remain to be issued. The MoD counsel added that the Supreme Court orders will be complied with in letter and spirit.

The Supreme Court had, in a landmark ruling on February 17, opened up command posts for women in non-combat areas in the Army, saying that “an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not comport with the guarantee of equality under Article 14”.

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