In a major judgement, the Supreme Court on Tuesday granted permanent commission to serving women officers in Indian Navy in all eligible branches and directed the Centre to comply with its order within three months.
Stating that there cannot be any discrimination citing physiological conditions, the top court observed: “They can sail with the same efficiency as male officers”.
The court observed that performance at work and dedication are the only answer to stereotypes within the Navy. The bench said injustice cannot be meted out to women officers in Navy and upheld the Delhi High Court judgement.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said gender discrimination cannot be permitted with woman officers in Navy after statutory bar was lifted by Centre to allow their entry in the force through policy decision in 1991 and 1998.
In the mirror image of his judgment granting permanent commission to women officers in non-combat posts, Justice Chandrachud said equality has to be the hallmark of armed forces and women can’t be deprived of permanent commission in Navy.
The order will enable women officers for eligible permanent commission in ATC & Logistics too, apart from Education.
The order comes days after the apex court on February 17 said that women officers in the Indian Army will get command positions on par with the male officers as the Centre is obligated to do so after the judgment of Delhi High Court in 2010.
“Physiological features of women have no link to their rights. The mindset must change,” SC said and added that “to cast aspersions on the ability of women and their role and achievements in Army is an insult not only to women but also to Indian Army.”
The permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Army in service, irrespective of their years of service.