The Ministry of Defence on Thursday issued a formal letter to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army, PTI reported.
In a statement, Army Spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said the move will pave the way to “empower women officers to shoulder larger roles” in the organisation. He added that the order specifies permanent commission to Short Service Commissioned women officers in all the 10 streams in which they presently serve – air defence, signals, engineers, aviation, electronics and mechanical engineers, army service corps, army ordnance corps and intelligence corps, in addition to the existing streams of judge and advocate general and army educational corps.
“The selection board will be scheduled as soon as all affected Short Service Commissioned women officers exercise their option and complete requisite documentation,” the spokesperson said. “The Indian Army is committed to providing equal opportunities to all personnel including women officers to serve the nation.”
The move came five months after the Supreme Court called for a “change in mindset” regarding women officers and ruled that women officers can get “command and criteria” appointments in the Army on par with their male counterparts. On February 17, the court had dismissed the Centre’s submissions that women were physiologically weaker than men as perpetuating sex stereotypes.
“Women officers of the Indian Army have brought laurels to the force,” Justice DY Chandrachud had observed in a 54-page judgment. “Their track record of service to the nation is beyond reproach. To cast aspersions on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army – men and women – who serve as equal citizens in a common mission. The time has come for a realisation that women officers in the Army are not adjuncts to a male dominated establishment whose presence must be ‘tolerated’ within narrow confines.”
The Supreme Court at the time ordered the government to implement its decision in three months. However, the top court granted one more month on July 7 after the Centre filed an application seeking an extension due to the coronavirus pandemic.