Acting against the injustice towards women in armed forces in the country, the Supreme Court of India has asked the union government to give permanent commission to the hundreds of women serving as short services commission (SSC) officers in Indian Army. The apex court added that it will take judicial move if the Centre fails to comply.
At present, women are inducted into only 10 branches in Indian Army unlike the Indian Air Force, which admits evenly into all its branches, including fighter pilots. The Navy also accepts women in SSC across all branches except sea-going and specialisation ones.
In fact, women officers are also granted permanent commission in the Naval Armament branch, at par with male officers.
The Army dictates that women SSC officers have to retire after 14 years of service regardless of age, whereas their male counterparts can serve till the age of 60. Accordingly, women officers had no scope for extension of their service, while their male counterparts were eligible to do so within five years after joining the force.
Reportedly, under the new system, SSC women officers will have to indicate if they want a permanent commission within four years of joining the service. For male officers, this period continues to be five years.
The case for permanent commission for women started about a decade ago when eight female officers in the Army approached the Delhi High Court in 2010 against this law. Although the Delhi HC called the practice discriminatory and unconstitutional, and called for equal treatment of male and female army officers, the Centre challenged the decision in Supreme Court.
However, on Tuesday (November 19), the apex court put an end to the decade-long saga by calling for fair play.
At present, the Army provides permanent commission only to the women officers who have joined the force after March 2019. The Supreme Court has asked the legal officer for the Centre to come back with a positive response for the eight women who initially approached the court so that they would not be left out in this effort for bringing justice.