The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to apprise it about the individual status of 615 serving Short Service Commission women officers in the Indian Army, out of whom 422 have been found fit on merit to grant permanent commission, reported PTI.

The court also adjourned the hearing on a plea challenging the selection process in granting permanent commission to women officers after the Centre sought more time to file a reply. The matter will be taken up in December.

A plea was filed by Lieutenant Colonel Ashu Yadav and 10 others, claiming that the selection process was conducted in a “prejudicial manner” and that less than half of the 615 applicants have been granted permanent commission, according to The Indian Express. The Indian Army had said that 422 women have been selected.

During Wednesday’s hearing, senior advocate Paramjit Patwalia submitted that three of his clients have not been granted permanent commission, Live Law reported. He said that one of them will be relieved from service till the next hearing after the Centre sought more time to file a reply.

Patwalia said that another of her client had taken admission in an engineering course and will be “thrown out now”. He added that no reasons have been given for not granting permanent commission to his clients.

“News reports suggest 422 out of 615 officers have been granted permanent commission but that is not the case,” senior advocate Meenakshi Arora submitted. “Effectively only 193 have been granted.”

She added that highly-decorated officers, who were part of Operation Rakshak and other missions, have also not been granted permanent commission.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain sought two weeks to file a counter response. “We will file an umbrella counter,” he told the Supreme Court. “Two things – the process of selection has been completed and results have been declared. There are a couple of fresh applications challenging the selection process.”

He said that there are 17 petitions and that the Centre will respond to all of them individually. “Out of the 17, nine have not been approved for PC [permanent commission],” Jain said. “We will deal with all cases separately.”

The plea had claimed that “extremely meritorious and outstanding women” were not granted permanent commission “based on unknown, undisclosed and surreptitious parameters”.

“If we compare this result of women officers with their male counterparts then, roughly 90% of the total optees for PC [permanent commission] in a particular batch is granted Permanent Commission,” it added.

The Indian Army announced the results of the permanent commission on November 19. The Army had set a panel after the Supreme Court had in February asked it to consider granting the same to women in 10 non-combat branches of the force.

The top court had castigated the government for submitting a note portraying women as physiologically unfit for answering the “call beyond duty” of the Army. It said that the Centre’s note perpetuated sex stereotypes. “Arguments by the Centre founded on physical strength of men and women and grounds of motherhood, family etc violates equality,” the judgement said. “To cast aspersions on ability of women and their role and achievements in Army is an insult not only to women but also to Indian Army.”