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Historic Justice to Women To Be A Permanent Commissioned Officer In Indian Armed Forces

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court (SC) today cleared the role for the permanent commission for all women officers in the Army irrespective of their years of service. The Supreme Court directed the Centre to grant permanent commission within three months to all women officers. Until now, Women officers were only allowed in Short Service Commission (SSC).

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In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court(SC) today said the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Army in service, irrespective of their years of service. The Supreme Court directed the Centre to grant permanent commission within three months to all women officers. Until now, Women officers were only allowed in Short Service Commission (SSC) and can serve for 10-14 years in the SSC. Women officers are allowed entry into Army Service Corps, Ordnance, Education Corps, Judge Advocate General, Engineers, Signals, Intelligence and Electrical and Mechanical Engineering branches. 

SC rejected the Centre's opposition to permanent commission to women officers on the physiological features, said this mindset must change as it perpetuates "gender stereotypes". 

Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, who appeared for women officers said the apex court judgment has given equal rights to the women officers as their male counterparts and a long-pending right has been given to women officers through this order.

The top court sighting the 2010 Delhi High Court verdict pointed out that despite there being no stay on allowing grant of permanent commission to women officers, the Centre has shown scant regard in implementing the directive. On the centre's arguments of physiological limitations and "social norms" for denying permanent commission to women officers, Justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi remarked: "Physiological features of women have no link to their rights. The mindset must change."

"Women in the Army is an evolutionary process and the Union of India should have acted in accordance with the Delhi High Court judgment when there was no stay on it," top court said.

The landmark decision will allow women to be at the front line in the combat & commanding role in the Indian Armed Forces. The top Court  said even women who have served more than 14 years in the Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Army can opt for the permanent commission. The court also commented that there was a "fundamental fallacy" in the centre's policy of considering only women with less than 14 years for permanent commission. 

Post judgment, now women officer could be commanding a rank of colonel leading the post at the front line. Last year, Indian navy has paved way of posting women defence attaches in the Indian mission overseas, breaking  proverbial glass ceiling in the male-dominated services. "The doors are opening for the equal opportunities in the Indian Armed Forces and the justice is being served rightly to our brave  female soldiers," said an Army veteran.