The Centre on Friday granted permanent commission to 39 women Army officers, Live Law reported. A total of 72 women officers had approached the Supreme Court after they were denied permanent commission on various grounds.
A two-judge bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BN Nagarathna on Friday directed the Centre to ensure that the new service status is granted to the 39 women officers within seven working days.
The court’s order came after the Centre informed the judges about the outcome of re-examination of the cases of 72 women officers.
The Centre said that one of the officers had quit since the re-examination started. Seven of them were found medically unfit and 25 others cannot be granted permanent commission due “to serious issues of discipline, weak operational reports, integrity, disobedience of orders, adverse ACRs [annual confidential reports], poor grading in basic courses against them”.
The court asked the Centre for a detailed explanation on why the 25 women officers were deemed ineligible for permanent commission.
A permanent commission means a career in the army till retirement, while Short Service Commission is for 10 years, with the option of either leaving or opting for Permanent Commission at the end of 10 years. If an officer doesn’t get Permanent Commission then, the officer can choose a four-year extension.
On October 1, the court had asked the Centre to not relieve any women officers who had been denied permanent commission from their service.
The Centre had denied permanent commission to the women officers for “disobedience of orders, [for] forging medical documents, poor work ethics, lack of professionalism and un-officer-like conduct”.
The lawyers representing the officers said that their clients’ disqualification from permanent commission was against the Supreme Court’s order from March.
In March, the court had said that permanent commission should be granted to women Short Service Commissions Officers who score 60% marks in their assessment, meet the Army’s medical criteria and obtain vigilance and disciplinary clearance
In a landmark verdict in February last year, the Supreme Court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted a permanent commission, rejecting the Centre’s stand of their physiological limitations as being based on “stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.
The Army had constituted a special selection board in September 2020 to screen women officers. The results for this were declared in November 2020. Women who were not granted permanent commission had moved the Supreme Court.