The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) to reinstate the over 50 women officers who petitioned against the denial of Permanent Commission but the two forces said this would be well nigh impossible.
“Firstly, there are no vacancies. Secondly, this would create cadre management problems. Thirdly, there are sound arguments on the basis of which an appeal can be filed,” an IAF officer said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issued.
Commenting on the court order to grant Permanent Commission to the women officers who had joined the forces in the Short Service Commission stream, the officer said: “This can't be done at the stroke of a pen as it would have a cascading effect.
“On the one hand, all other women Short Service Commission officers would also demand Permanent Commission. Then, male officers would also demand this facility.
“It would also stand the recruitment policy of officers on its head. A Permanent Commission, by its very nature, is meant to be on a long-term basis. Short Service Commissions are, by their very nature, meant to be for a shorter period.
“Everything else apart, this would create a discriminatory situation as women officers of the Indian Navy are not covered by this judgement,” the officer pointed out.
"We have yet to receive the detailed judgement. Once it is received, it will be carefully studied and a view taken on the way ahead,” the officer said.
Indian Army officers IANS spoke to reacted in similar vein.
Short Service Commission officers, be they men or women, serve for a maximum of 14 years while male officers granted Permanent Commissions can serve up to the age of 60, depending on the rank they rise to.
Women are currently eligible for Permanent Commission only in the medical, nursing and dental services of armed forces. They are eligible for Short Service Commission in the non-combat or support arms of the armed forces.