Supreme Court says women officers can be given permanent commission in the Army:

[2/17, 15:02] Sekarreporter: Supreme Court says women officers can be given permanent commission in the Army:
[2/17, 15:02] Sekarreporter: Upholding the 2010 Delhi High Court judgment, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the Centre’s submissions that women are physiologically weak were based on a deeply entrenched stereotypes.
Dismissing the Narendra Modi government’s view that women are physiologically weaker than men as a “stereotype”, the Supreme Court on Monday declared that women officers are eligible for command posts and permanent commissions in the Army irrespective of their years of service.
A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said the time when women officers were seen merely as “adjuncts” of men officers was long past.
[2/17, 15:03] Sekarreporter: At the time of opting for specialisations in the Army, women officers could choose any available to men.
The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court judgment of 2010, which held that women officers in short service commission, if found eligible, should be granted permanent commission. The Supreme Court directed the government to implement policy decisions to grant permanent commission to women in the Army in the next three months.
‘Decade-long reluctance’
Justice Chandrachud, who authored the verdict, slammed the government’s decade-long reluctance to give permanent commission and command posts to women officers. Instead of implementing the High Court judgment, the government had appealed to the Supreme Court when confronted with contempt action. The judgment said the hesitation was sourced from a “strong stereotype that domestic obligation rests solely on women”.
The Court was responding to submissions made by the government that women officers would not be able to bear with the isolation and hardships of combat zones as well as their men counterparts in the Army. They would have to ultimately heed to the call of childbirth and rearing a family and would have to organise their lives in tune with their husbands’ careers. The government had argued that women officers would not be able to convincingly answer to the “call beyond duty” the defence services demand of its officers and even affect national security.
Justice Chandrachud countered these submissions with the government’s own statistics. He said 30% of women officers were posted in combat zones even now in various capacities.
‘Deeply disturbing’
The arguments from the government side screamed of the age-old patriarchal notion that men were breadwinners and women merely caretakers. It ignored the fact that women stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men officers to defend the country; they played a vital role in the line of duty. The arguments made by the government was not only constitutionally valid but also discriminatory and affected the dignity of women officers, he said.
The Supreme Court found the government’s argument “deeply disturbing”.
The Court rejected the government’s stand that only women officers with less than 14 years of service would be considered for permanent commission. The court dismissed the stand that those who had reached 20 years of service would be discharged with pension. Short service commission women officers granted permanent commissions would be given all consequential benefits, including promotion and financial sops, as men officers.
Instead, Justice Chandrachud reasoned that had the government implemented the Delhi High Court judgment in 2010 itself without delay, these women officers who had now completed 14 or 20 years of service, would have been eligible for service. It was the government’s “failure” to implement the High Court judgment the women officers would not bear the brunt.
“To turn around now and say they are not eligible for permanent commission would be a travesty of justice,” Justice Chandrachud read out from excerpts of the judgment.
Thus, applying the judgment retrospectively, the Court declared that all serving women officers would be eligible for permanent commission in the Army.
The Court, however, said appointment of women officers to command posts was not automatic as was the case for men officers too. Like men, women too have to prove their professional worth. It was left to the Army authorities to take a call on a case-to-case basis.
However, the days of “blanket non-consideration” of women officers to command posts was invalid. The sweeping practice of appointing women to staff positions and not command ones was bad, the Court held.

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