SC judgment will uplift women across country not just in Army, say officers
Women Army officers on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court order directing the Centre to grant them permanent commission, saying it will help in uplifting women across the country and not just in the armed forces. Talking to reporters outside the court premises here after the SC order, a woman officer, who was accompanied by some other women colleagues from the Army, said whoever qualifies for the job should be given the opportunity to command. The SC order, which has to be implemented within three months, will uplift women across the country and not just those in the Army, she said.
“Commanding cannot be done rightaway. It needs training. So give them training and whoever fits the benchmark, should be given the opportunity. As per the Supreme Court ruling, the order will be applied on all serving women officers,” the officer said.
Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, who appeared for women officers, said the apex court judgment has given equal rights to the women officers as their male counterparts.
She said a long-pending right has been given to women officers through this order.
“The sky is virtually the limit,” Lekhi said, adding the top court has also made some observations on how the army authorities have been “misleading” the court on the issue.
The top court termed “disturbing” the Centre’s argument of physiological limitations and social norms for denying women officers command posts and said there will not be any absolute bar on giving them command postings.
It also said women officers in the past have brought laurels to the country and a change of mindset is required on the part of the government to put an end to gender bias in the armed forces.
The top court said despite there being no stay on a 2010 Delhi High Court verdict allowing grant of permanent commission to women officers, the Centre has over past one decade shown scant regard in implementing the directive.
It said engagement of women officers in the Army has been an evolutionary process and the Union of India should have acted in accordance with the Delhi High Court judgment when there was no stay on it.