Several women Army officers have moved the Supreme Court against denial of permanent commission (PC) in the armed force despite its last year’s direction to the Centre in this regard.
The top court had in February 2020 directed the Centre to grant permanent commission to women officers in the Army’s non-combat support units. However, several women officers alleged that this has not been properly implemented.
Several petitions have been filed before the apex court to look into the matter and the petitions are likely to come up for hearing on January 27.
According to ANI, one such petition has been filed by a woman officer via her lawyer Chitrangda Rastravara and Advocate on Record (AOR) Archana Pathak Dave before the court. It has been alleged that the Army has not addressed the ambiguities in the implementation of the SC order.
“Despite the ruling of the top court, the implementation of the judgment is done only for good optics, and to eliminate the women officers from the Army rather than including them in the institution as per the intent of the directions given by the Supreme Court,” said Rastravara.
The top court had directed the Centre to give all benefits to all women officers, irrespective of their years of service. Five months since the court’s direction, the Centre too had in July issued an order in this regard.
“This case is about women Army officers being denied their rightful due of PC, which in spite of a prolonged legal battle of more than a decade is still not a reality today, due to the absence of a clear-cut policy about the procedure adopted to assess women officers and application of arbitrary parameters by the army without any basis,” she added.
Rastravara said that the Army claimed that out of 615 women officers, 422 are eligible and found fit for PC, but in reality, only 277 out of 422 have been granted PC and the remaining 145 are those officers who are either non-optees or whose results are withheld “due to medical and administrative reasons. 193 officers have been denied PC,” she said.
She added: “The unknown/unnotified and arbitrary benchmark of scoring above the lowest graded gentlemen officer of the parallel batch is one of the parameters that has never been applied in the usual case for gentlemen officers and thus is affecting the morale of these highly meritorious women officers.”
Rastravara said that the figure 422 has been given for ” good optics” and does not represent the true picture.
“Thus, finding those officers who are non-optees fit for PC and denying the same to optees smacks of gross arbitrariness,” the petition states.