The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the defence ministry (MoD) for relieving its short-service commission women officers, even as its appeal against the Delhi high court verdict ordering permanent commission to them was pending before the apex court.
A bench of justice JM Panchal and justice HS Gokhale stayed the department’s February 19 order discharging six women officers of the ninth batch on March 7.
The bench reacted sharply at the manner in which MoD has relieved its women officers. The ministry has already discharged the seventh and eight batch. “Have you granted a stay to yourself? This is nothing but contempt,” the court warned MoD, which wasn’t represented by any senior counsel.
MoD’s discharge orders come at a time when the ministry is having a re-look at its policy of not granting permanent commission to women officers. It had on the last date sought time from the SC after submitting that the policy was under review.
Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, appearing for the aggrieved officers informed the court that four of them were petitioners before HC, and, therefore, could not be removed. Lekhi accused the ministry of overreaching the apex court that is yet to decide the ministry’s appeal against March 2010 HC verdict. She added SC had not issued any stay order on it.
When MoD requested the bench not to extend its stay order on those who were not parties before the HC, the court retorted: “Why can’t you implement the judgment? The difficulty would be solved by this, as parties would not choose to come to court.”