After resisting for years, the government on Monday finally conceded defeat and assured the Supreme Court it would consider giving permanent commission (PC) to its short service commission (SSC) women officers, but only in the legal and education departments.
A bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra directed the government to complete the process within two months. It asked the authorities to take up on a priority basis the case of Major Lina Gurung, one of the SSC officers who petitioned the Delhi High Court, and who will retire in August.
Questioning the rationale behind denial of permanent commission to women officers, the bench asked the government to file a detailed affidavit specifying the nature of duties performed by such officers.
“If you cannot given them permanent commission, why do you employ them under short service? Either they are in or out. And, if they are eligible for the Air Force, then why not the Army?” it asked Solicitor General (SG) Gopal Subramanium.
“Permanent commission in the Army means to go out in battle. In the Air Force, there is a range of non-combat duties such as the logistics and engineers,” Subramanium replied.
Asked if an SSC male officer in legal wing went to the battlefield the SG skirted the issue.