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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 18 February, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

Women Army officers eligible for permanent commission

Syllabus subtopic:

  • Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
  • Various Security Forces and Agencies and their Mandate.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the SC judgement and its significance

News: The Supreme Court dismissed the Union government’s submissions that women are physiologically weaker than men as a “sex stereotype” and declared that Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers are eligible for permanent commission and command posts in the Army irrespective of their years of service.

Background

The verdict came on a nearly 10-year-old appeal filed by the government against a March 12, 2010 decision of the Delhi High Court to grant SSC women officers permanent commission.

About the SC order

  • The order castigated the government for submitting a note containing written submissions portraying women as physiologically unfit for answering the “call beyond duty” of the Army.

  • The note had shown women officers in a poor light, saying isolation and hardships would eat into their resolve and that they would have to heed to the call of pregnancy, childbirth and family. The note had mentioned that women ran the risk of capture by enemy and taken prisoner of war.

  • The SC bench countered that 30% of women officers were deputed in conflict zones and the note screamed of the age-old patriarchal notion that domestic obligations rested only with women.

  • The court found the remarks in the note not only constitutionally invalid but discriminatory, affecting the dignity of women officers.

  • The court dismissed the government's stand that only women officers with less than 14 years of service ought to be considered for permanent commission, and those with over 20 years service should be pensioned immediately. Applying the judgment retrospectively, the court declared that all serving women officers would be eligible for permanent commission.

  • The Supreme Court ordered the government to implement its judgment in three months.

Command posts for women

  • SSC for women is available only in ‘Combat Support Arms’ and ‘Services’ wings of the Army.

  • The exclusion of women from combat operations was not examined by the court as it was not the contested in the appeal.

  • The court held that a blanket ban of women SSC officers from command posts cannot be sustained by law. An absolute prohibition of women SSC officers to obtain anything but staff appointments does not fulfil the purpose of granting permanent commissions as a means of career advancement in the Army.

  • The court held that since command appointments were not automatic for men officers, so would it be for women. It was left to the Army to take a call on a case to case basis.

Source: The Hindu


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26 Oct,2021

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