The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the release of 10 women naval officers who are seeking grant of permanent commission, from the services, reported PTI. The officers were scheduled to be released on December 31.

A vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose asked the Centre and the chief of naval staff to file their replies to the petitions moved by the officers. The court will hear the matter next on January 19.

Two separate petitions have been filed by 10 women Short Service Commission officers, including Annie Nagaraja and CDR Vijayeta, seeking grant of permanent commission in the Indian Navy, according to PTI.

Permanent commission entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till they retire. The short service commission on the other hand, is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years.

In March, the Supreme Court had ruled that serving Short Service Commission women officers in the Indian Navy were entitled to permanent commission, adding that they must be treated at par with male officers. It had given the Centre three months to implement the verdict. However in June, the Centre had requested a six-month extension to the deadline, citing the coronavirus pandemic. After this, in October, the court asked the Centre to implement the decision by December 31.

However, as the deadline, which coincided with the release date of the ten officers, approached, the Centre failed to implement the decision.

In another landmark decision in February, the Supreme Court had ordered the Centre to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army, respecting the 2010 Delhi High Court order in this regard. The court also ruled that women officers can get “command and criteria” appointments in the Army on par with their male counterparts.