The Supreme Court on Wednesday said if there is a will and a change in mindset on the part of the government, then women officers could be allocated command posts in the Army. The court also pointed out that there are many other services along with combat operations where women could be accommodated.
Senior Advocate R Balasubramaniam, representing the Ministry of Defence, said there are no rules in the appointments, which contribute towards gender-based discrimination for promotion, appointments, etc. He also emphasised that all provisions and rules apply equally to both men and women, and any proposition of gender discrimination is misplaced.
A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud and comprising Ajay Rastogi said there are two things that are required to remove any form of gender discrimination — “administrative will and change in mindset.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that women are better than men, and clarified that he did not contend that men cannot take commands from the women.
The court has reserved the order and asked all parties concerned to submit all notes and submissions by Friday.
The court observed that it will consider applications of all women officers, who are in service and who aren’t, and the ones who are will be governed through the judgement. The court denied to pass separate orders.
Counsel for the women petitioners argued that there is discrimination from the beginning, and they have not received the dues, an issue originating from discrimination. The counsel also added that Short Service Commission was introduced in 2006.
The petitioner also cited the difference in training in the SSC and candidates who pass out from the Indian Military Academy, as they have permanent entry. This results in adjustment in seniority, as candidate move from the SSC to Permanent Commission. This adjustment ensures that they don’t surpass the ones who’ve come from the Indian Military Academy.
The court observed that if the High Court were to be complied in this matter, then women would have been entitled to be considered for Permanent Commission.