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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Denied permanent commission even after top court ruling, women officers to move tribunal

The women officers have sought legal remedy for permanent commission multiple times now. The Supreme Court has twice intervened in this issue. In early August, the top court had said the officers can approach the Armed Forces Tribunal to seek a stay on their release.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: August 23, 2021 6:55:52 am
The Army did not respond to a request for comment. (Representational)

A number of women Army officers, who have been denied permanent commission even after the Supreme Court’s intervention, will approach the Armed Forces Tribunal against the release orders issued to them. The Army had rejected the permanent commission for 28 women officers, and around seven of them will likely challenge the order.

One of these officers said while the release orders for the 28 officers were issued on July 15, results for 77 others were withheld.

The women officers have sought legal remedy for permanent commission multiple times now. The Supreme Court has twice intervened in this issue. In early August, the top court had said the officers can approach the Armed Forces Tribunal to seek a stay on their release.

The officer mentioned above, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express that “after two landmark judgements” by the Supreme Court, the Army has “yet again misinterpreted the judgment to suit its inferior motives and denied PC to 28 women officers and shown them the doors unceremoniously citing that they have not scored the required grade of 60 per cent”.

The Army did not respond to a request for comment.

She said the 28 officers “have crossed the two stages of extensions, one at 5th year and then at 10th year on same criteria and same record of service which now renders them unfit”. The majority of those officers, she said, have completed more than 20 years of service.

The officers, she said, “have an impeccable and clean record, awarded for exemplary work,” have served in sensitive roles and had been “praised for their performance”. She wondered how the Special Number 5 Selection Board constituted to grant permanent commission to 615 women officers who had approached the Supreme Court earlier found them “unfit”.

“When every officer gets 60 days to represent and gets redressal against any presumed wrong assessment, these women officers were not even given that opportunity to seek and await redressal and have been asked to leave within 58 days of their result,” she said.

In March, the Supreme Court had chastised the Army and asked it to grant permanent commission to all women short commission officers who had scored 60 per cent marks. Following this, the Army granted permanent commission to 147 women officers, in addition to 277 who had been selected earlier. Last year, after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling laying the ground for permanent commission to women officers, in all ten non-combat streams, the Army had set up a special selection board.

It said in July that “the Women Officers were re-considered as per directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and fresh results have now been de-classified” and added that consequently “147 more Women Officers are being granted PC, taking the total PC granted to 424 out of the 615 officers considered”.

Results of some of the officers, it had said, were withheld for administrative reasons and awaiting outcome of the clarification petition filed by the government.

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