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No gender discrimination in forces, court directs government

delhi Updated: Jul 24, 2009 20:03 IST
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Rooting for gender equality, the Delhi High Court on Friday asked the government to make "some arrangement" to provide women officers in the armed forces at least retirement benefits.

"We want to solve the matter at the administrative level. After 14 years of service if the women officers are not made permanent, then the government should make some arrangement so that they can at least avail the retirement benefits," said a bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.C. Garg.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told the bench, "We are trying our best to solve this matter and are seeing no discrimination is done to the women officers. We are seeking instructions from the government on this in four weeks."

However, the court refused to entertain the solicitor general's contention that he was taking instructions. "We don't need any instruction from the government. We have appointed you to solve the matter at your own level and see no discrimination is done with the women in the army."

The court made the remarks on a bunch of petitions filed by women officers of the armed forces who, unlike their male counterparts, are not granted permanent commission and forced to retire after 10 years of service despite being fit for the job.

The court had earlier asked the government to treat women officers on a par with their male counterparts in the armed forces.

Following the direction, the government has taken a policy decision to grant permanent commission to those women officers who would be recruited in future only in the judge advocate general's (JAG) branch and education departments, but refused to extend the benefit to serving women officers.