SC unhappy with Army’s process of granting women Permanent Commission, calls criteria arbitrary and discriminatory

Saying the Indian Army's evaluation criteria is discriminatory, working to the disadvantage of the women officers, the SC held, "Structures of our society has been created by males for males..equality is a farce if this doesn't change and women get equal opportunity."

March 25, 2021 UPDATED: March 25, 2021 12:18 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday criticised the Indian Army for discriminating against women officers who wanted to opt for Permanent Commission, and ruled that the requirement for women to get PC in the Army is “arbitrary”.

Pronouncing verdict on petitions filed by women officers for Permanent Commission, the SC on Thursday said the evaluation criteria adopted by the Indian Army for the grant of PC for women officers is “arbitrary and discriminatory” and asked the Army to reconsider its Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) evaluation system.

” ACR evaluation criteria for grant of Permanent Commission to women officers ignored laurels brought by them to Indian Army,” the SC held.

“Structure of our society has been created by males for males. Some look harmless but it’s a patriarchal reflection of our society. Adjustment and amendment of thoughts needed to create an equal society,” Justice DY Chandrachud said.

“It is not correct to say that women serve in the Army when the real picture is different. The superficial face of equality does not stand true to the principles enshrined in the Constitution.”

Holding that its judgment in favour of PC for women officers hasn’t been complied with by the Army, the SC added, “Women before us have persevered to get equal opportunity in Permanent Commission…They do not come to the court for charity or favour.”

The Supreme Court directed the Army to consider the grant of the Permanent Commission for women officers within two months.

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The Supreme Court had in February made it clear that it cannot modify its verdict directing the Centre to consider granting Permanent Commission to women officers in the Army by entertaining individual grievances, that too almost a year after its pronouncement.

The Supreme Court was on Thursday hearing a batch of petitions filed by women officers for Permanent Commission in the Indian Army and Navy, seeking a direction that contempt proceedings be initiated against those who had allegedly failed in their duty to comply with the earlier judgment of the SC.

In their petitions, the women army officers alleged that the directions were not being complied with in “letter and spirit”.


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