SC directs centre to grant permanent commission to women in Army within 3 months

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The Supreme Court on Monday February 17 directed the government 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. Exclusion from Command Postings violates Articles 14 of the Constitution, SC said. A SC Bench observed that the Centre’s stance taken against the same was disturbing and perpetuated gender stereotypes. The Court also pulled up the Central Government for delaying in granting Permanent Commission at par with male officers in line with a 2010 ruling to that effect by the Delhi High Court, reports Bar & Bench. Following the 2010 ruling, it was only in 2019 that the Centre issued a policy that extended Permanent Commission to women officers in eight streams, apart from the two streams of Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps (AEC).Justice D Y Chandrachud heading the Bench has  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. The Bench said women officers in the past have brought laurels to the country and change of mindset is required on the part of the government to end gender bias in armed forces. The top court said despite there being no stay on the 2010 Delhi High Court v verdict allowing grant of permanent commission to women officers, the Centre showed scant regard in implementing the directive in past one decade. he Court further remarked that the Centre’s submissions on the issue, against the grant of Permanent Commission to women officers on par with male officers, were based on set stereotypes. The Court observed that society holds a strong belief in gender roles, and that men are physically stronger while women are weak and submissive. The Court highlighted that this is a “flawed notion” that “women are the weaker sex.”The Court remarked that the line of reasoning adopted by the Central Government in its submissions perpetuated gender stereotypes and were disturbing, apart from being contrary to its own 2019 policy

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