The Centre has urged before the Supreme Court that it was not possible to grant permanent commission to women officers in Armys combat and its support wings because of their close proximity with the enemy and attendant hazards of battle.
While agreeing to implement the Delhi High Court direction to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Air Force,the Defence Ministry opposed the idea of extending this benefit to women in the Army combat and its support units,either now or in the future.
Combat role of women officers must be excluded not only for the present,but as a matter of policy for all times…. The basic role of an army is to fight the enemy whether internal or external and guard the territorial integrity of the nation. Women officers,therefore,cannot be employed in combat in the foreseeable future,because of its attendant hazards and trauma,including the possibility of being made prisoners of war, stated the affidavit.
It stressed that women cannot be granted permanent commission in the force because the bulk of the Armys Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and other ranks hail from rural India who are not yet ready to accept a woman as their leader in combat situations. The interface between the leader and the led must be without any reserve or preconceived notions especially in battle conditions where jawans repose full faith in decisions/orders of the leader who is their role model and are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, read the affidavit.
The affidavit further said the experience with Short Service Commission (SSC) woman officers,when detailed on courses which are crucial for career progression has been far from encouraging.