At a time when the world is fighting for causes like feminism and women empowerment, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that male troops may not be ‘ready to accept women officers.’
The union government said that it, thus, cannot appoint women in commanding positions in the Army.
The Centre backed its statement by saying that the male troop predominantly comes from a rural background and may not be in a position to accept commands from a female leader. Additionally, it said that women have more family demands and that they were at a danger of being taken prisoner of war.
According to media reports, the Centre said:
“The composition of rank and file being male, and predominantly drawn from rural background, with prevailing societal norms, the troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command.”
It said that hiring women officers in commanding roles would mean extreme physical, mental and psychological stress for the Army and government.
The Supreme Court replied saying that a change in mindset is required with changing times, and that the Centre does “Need to give them (women officers) opportunity,” and that women officers should be allowed to serve at the best of their abilities. In fact, earlier in November, the Supreme Court of India had asked the Union Government to give permanent commission to the hundreds of women serving as Short Services Commission (SSC) Officers in the Indian Army.
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Raising more eyebrows, the Centre said that male and female officers cannot be treated the same way because of their different physical standards and exposures. Further, it said that it is a greater challenge for women officers to meet hazards of service, owing to prolonged absence during pregnancy and motherhood.
Currently, women are inducted into only 10 branches in the Indian Army, unlike the Indian Air Force, which admits women and men evenly into all its branches.