Not recruiting married women in Army’s legal wing is hostile: Delhi HCindia Updated: Aug 10, 2017 23:18 IST
Indian Army officers during the Army Day parade in New Delhi.(HT File Photo)
The Delhi high court said on Thursday that not recruiting married women in the army’s legal arm, called judge advocate general (JAG), amounts to “hostile and 100% discrimination”.
JAG officers provide legal help to the army, including advising presiding officers of court martial proceedings. A major general holds the post of judge advocate general.
The high court made the observation hearing a petition that alleged that keeping married women off the JAG is institutionalised discrimination.
“Today women are fighter pilots and you say they are not fit for the JAG. What is the logic behind ousting married women?” the court asked.
The petition sought a direction to the Centre to hire married woman law graduates in the JAG.
The government responded that the bar applied to unmarried men and women during the nine-to-ten-month training period in the army.
Another petition said only gainfully employed men were recruited in the Territorial Army, the country’s second line of defence after the regular army.
“Why are women not fit for the Territorial Army?” the court sought to know.
The government replied that women were not recruited in the Territorial Army’s infantry division, but there is no bar in hiring in other sections.
The court directed the army to give written replies for both cases in the next hearing on August 24.
Gender parity in the armed forces have been a raging debate since India began recruiting women to non-medical positions in the military in 1992. Only 2.5% of its more than one million personnel are women — most of them administrators, intelligence officers, doctors, nurses or dentists.
India, which has one of the largest armies in the world, has resisted allowing women in combat roles, citing concern over their vulnerability if captured and the stress of frontline deployments.
But the government took steps last October towards gender equality in the male-dominated profession, allowing the air force’s woman pilots to fly warplanes on an experimental basis.