The central government informed the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that it was a policy decision to not induct women in branches of the Indian Navy where sea-time was compulsory to attain promotion, PTI reported. The submission came in an affidavit filed by the Centre to a petition seeking induction of women on par with men into executive branches of the Navy.

The general service cadres of the executive, engineering, and electrical branches of the Navy are sea-going, the government told a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao. The basic job of officers inducted into these cadres was to man and operate ships and they were required to undergo extensive sea training onboard ships, followed by extended tenures on vessels.

“Sea-time is also mandatory to make officers eligible for promotion to the next rank,” said the government affidavit, adding that the non-induction of women into these branches was a policy decision.

Since 1992, more women are being recruited into education, logistics and law branches of the Navy, said the Centre. “The induction of women officers into the Navy has been incremental, graduated, and progressive,” said the affidavit.

The Public Interest Litigation filed by lawyer Kush Kalra accused the Navy of “institutional discrimination” by arbitrarily depriving women of the right to serve in the Navy’s general service cadre on par with men.

The plea alleged that gender discrimination violated the fundamental right of equality, equality of opportunity in the matters of public employment, fundamental right to practice any profession and occupation, and the human rights of women.