The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Centre to take a decision on providing permanent commission to eight women officers who had approached the top court in 2010 against a law that allows them to serve in the Army for 14 years only, the Hindustan Times reported. The Centre has since granted permanent commission to women officers, but left out the eight women who had first approached the court.
“We can pass an order but we are giving you an opportunity to take credit for it,” a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud told the counsel for the Centre. The government had told the court that a decision had been taken to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army’s 10 branches, where they have been so far inducted for short service commission.
The court was told that the permanent commission scheme would begin only from April 2020. Aishwarya Bhatti, the lawyer representing the eight woman officers, told the court that this meant that the decision would not be retrospective, covering women who fought gender discrimination in the Army.
The bench told the Centre’s lawyer, Sanjay Jain, to come back with a positive response by November 28. Jain had earlier sought time on the grounds that he had been recently assigned the case.
The Narendra Modi-led government had approved permanent commission for women in all 10 branches of the Army in March this year. Under the scheme, the women officers should indicate within four years of service whether they want permanent commission.
In 2010, the Delhi High Court had ruled that compulsory retirement for women officers after 14 years was unconstitutional in all three services of the military – Army, Air Force and Navy, The Telegraph reported. Only the Army had appealed against this verdict.