The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to grant permanent commission to all women officers in the Army within three months and said there will not be any absolute bar on giving them command postings.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud rejected the Centre’s argument of physiological limitations and social norms for denying them permanent commission and command postings, saying it is disturbing and against the concept of equality.
“Society holds a strong belief in gender roles that men are physically stronger and women are weak and submissive.” The court said the notion “women are the weaker sex” is flawed, Bar&Bench reported.
The bench also said that the exclusion of women from command posting goes against the principles against discrimination and equal opportunity in public service, ie, Articles 14 and 16 of the Consitution.
The top court said even after 70 years of post-colonial era, there is a need for change in mindset with regard to giving equal opportunity to women officers in the Indian Army.
The top court said despite there being no stay on the 2010 Delhi High Court verdict allowing grant of permanent commission to women officers, the Centre had showed scant regard in implementing the directive in past one decade.
It said that women officers have brought laurels to the country and several gallantry, sena medals and UN Peace Keeping awards for their contribution in armed forces and to cast aspersion on them on the basis of physiological features is wrong as based on a fallacy.
The bench, however, clarified that deployment of women officers in combat role is a matter of policy as held by the Delhi High Court and the competent authority has to look into it.
The top court said permanent commission can be given to the women officers in the Army irrespective of their tenure of service.