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First Army, now Navy: Supreme Court nods yes to permanent commission for women

In yet another progressive ruling, Supreme Court on Tuesday said that objecting to a permanent commission for women in the Indian Navy is gender stereotyping and that there can be no discrimination between men and women on the issue of grant of permanent commission in the Indian Navy.

The court also directed Centre to implement its order within three months and grant permanent commission to serving short service commission women officer in Navy.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said that women officers can sail with the same efficiency as male officers in Navy and there should be no discrimination.

The court upholds the Delhi High Court order of granting permanent commission to women officers and rejected Centre's plea referring to physiological limitations of women officers in granting a permanent commission, says it is a reflection of gender stereotypes on part of the government.

The top court had in February this year, in a similar issue relating to the Indian Army, struck a blow for gender parity holding that SSC women officers in service are entitled to permanent commission.

A permanent commission entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike short service commission (SSC), which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.

The order came on appeals filed by the Union government against a September 2015 judgment of Delhi high court holding that there was no convincing reason to exclude serving women officers from consideration for permanent commission.

The Centre had decided in September 2008 to grant permanent commission to women officers but the same was applicable only prospectively to women SSC officers. The serving women officers were excluded from this entitlement.

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