In a significant judgement on Monday, February 17, the Supreme Court ruled that women officers should get permanent commission (PC) in the Army and emphasised on the necessity to change the mindset to "put to end gender discrimination" in the armed force.

"To cast aspersions on women based on gender is, in fact, an affront to the entire Army where men and women serve as equal soldiers," said the top court, while adding that the officers will be now eligible for command posting.

Assam Rifles
The apex court granted three months time to Centre to implement this order.REUTERS/Amit Dave

The apex court granted three months time to Centre to implement this order. The apex court said the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Army in service, irrespective of their years of service.

"It is an insult to women as well as the army when aspersions are cast on women, their ability and their achievements in the Army," the Supreme Court stated.

Justice Chandrachud cites examples of leading women officers

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that there is no ground to deny women officers PC even if they have completed 14 years rules. Justice Chandrachud cited examples of leading women officers -- Captain Tanya Shergill and Captain Madhumita. The court also noted women officers as convoy commanders in Leh, Udhamnagar etc.

The court directed the Centre to grant permanent commission to all women officers who opt for it. Also, it directed that the women officers shall also be eligible for command posting in the Army.

This new policy will benefit all Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers, noted the top court. "SSC women officers with less than 14 years, as well as beyond 14 years of service will be granted PC," the court observed.

For women officers in command assignment, the top court said there cannot be an absolute exclusion of women officers, and women cannot be totally ruled out for command assignments and it should be considered on a case by case basis.

(With agency inputs)