Permanent commission for women a distant dream

While the IAF has complied with the Delhi HC order, the Army has not

Permanent commission for women a distant dream

rough ride: In this file photo, women soldiers belonging to the 103 Battalion of the Rapid Action Force attend a function in New Delhi. AP

An Army spokesperson said on Tuesday that the Defence Ministry has filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court order, which directed the Army and Indian Air Force to grant permanent commission to women officers.

While the IAF has complied with the high court order, the Army thought otherwise. Following its March 12 verdict, the Delhi High Court sent a notice to the Army headquarters on Monday asking it to explain its position on the directions given by the court.

The problem originated in the 1990s when the Army and IAF lured women with the promise of permanent commission in certain branches at the end of their 14-year short-service commission. But, after a few batches, the Army closed its doors for women officers.

While the male SSC officers were given an option of permanent commission at the end of their mandatory 14-year term, there was no such offer made to the women counterparts in branches like Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps (AEC), even though they were promised so at the time of recruitment.

Subsequently, about 50 aggrieved women officers – 22 from the IAF – moved the court, which ruled in their favour. The court felt that the action taken by the two services was a breach of trust.

Following the high court order, IAF issued letters to 20 retired petitioners with the offer of permanent commission. Their responses are awaited. But, the Army offered permanent commission for women only in medical and dental corps and the nursing services.

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