NEW DELHI: "To deprive serving women is plainly discriminatory," the Supreme Court bench said while granting permanent commission to women in Navy.
The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that it would be “discriminatory” to deny them their dues post lifting of statutory bar allowing entry of women officers in Navy. It would be a serious miscarriage of justice, the SC said.
"They can sail with same efficiency as male officers," the apex court said.
Based on vacancies available, application from serving women officers seeking permanent commission should be considered within three months, the court stated.
The Court was hearing Indian Navy’s appeal challenging the 2015 verdict of the Delhi High Court that had allowed Permanent Commission for women in the Navy.
In February this year, Supreme Court has ruled in favour of women officers in Army holding commanding positions. The court ruled in favour of permanent commission for women officers.
“It’s a progressive judgement, we want to celebrate. I just want to say congratulations to everybody,” said a women officer, who was one of the petitioners.
The apex court also said that women serving less than 14 years in Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Army can now opt for permanent commission if they wish to. “We see no reason to grant permanent commission only to those who had have more than 14 years in service,” the court said, stating that there is a “fundamental fallacy” in the policy. “To cast aspersions on ability of women and their role and achievements in Army is an insult not only to women but also to Indian Army,” the bench said.
The Centre in its statement had argued otherwise asking the court that physiological limitations and social norms can act as impediment for granting permanent commission to women officers.
The Centre had also said that since troops are mostly drawn from rural background they may not be mentally prepared for such a change.
“…the profession of arms is not only a profession but a way of life which often requires sacrifices, commitment beyond the call of duty by the entire family of service personnel involving separation, frequent transfers affecting education of children and career prospects of spouse. As a consequence, it is a greater challenge for women officers to meet the hazards of service owing to their prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families especially when both husband and wife happen to be service officers”, the Centre’s note stated, according to Hindustan Times.
“Women work shoulder to shoulder with men. The centre’s submission is based on gender discrimination and stereotype. Women Army officers brought laurels to the county,” the Supreme Court said.