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SC gives one more month to Defence Ministry to grant permanent commission to women officers in Indian Army

The Supreme Court has granted one more month to the Union Defence Ministry to comply with its February order and grant permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army. Ministry of Defence had moved the top court seeking six more months to implement court's February verdict in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Centre said that decision making was at a final stage and only formal orders were awaited.

On February 17 this year, the apex court had upheld Delhi High Court's 2010 order which allowed permanent commission for women officers in Indian Army, and had asked Centre to comply with the order by May 2020. Centre has agreed to implement court's verdict in letter and spirit.

While delivering its verdict in February, the top court had questioned non-implementation of the high court order by the Centre since it wasn't stayed at any point of time. Centre's earlier submissions on stereotyping of women as physiologically weak were brushed aside by the court, holding that such notions had caused irreparable loss to women officers in terms of service and seniority.

Court's ruling stressed upon need to change attitudes and mindsets after 70 years of independence, pointing towards laurels earned by women officers while working shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.

Observing that non-discrimination in employment was a fundamental right under law, court had held that engagement of women officers in army was an evolutionary process. The order criticised the "deeply disturbing" ideas that taking care of family is a woman's primary job, and ruled that it was an insult to both women and the institution of Army aspersions cast on women's ability and achievements.

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