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Permanent Commission to Women Officers In Army: All You Need to Know

Supreme Court dismissed the government’s argument that only women officers with less than 14 years of service ought to be considered for permanent commission.

Feb 19, 2020 14:35 IST
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The Supreme Court has ruled on February 17, 2020 that the women officers in Short Service Commission (SSC) are eligible for the permanent commission in the Indian Army. The Supreme Court’s decision came on an appeal filed about 10 years ago by the government of India against the Delhi High Court’s decision.

In 2010, Delhi High Court granted eligibility to women officers for permanent commission in the Army. The apex court also ordered the central government to implement its judgment in the next three months.

Supreme Court’s Decision

• Supreme Court dismissed the government’s argument that only women officers with less than 14 years of service ought to be considered for permanent commission.
• Supreme Court also rejected the government’s stand that women officers with over 20 years of experience should be immediately pensioned.
• According to the Supreme Court’s decision, women officers would also be eligible for command posts in non-combat areas. 
• The Supreme Court also said that it is discriminatory to keep women away from this opportunity by giving physical, social and mental reasons, it cannot be accepted.

What will be changed?

• If the permanent commission for women in the army gets the green signal, it will bring a historic change in the Indian Army. 
• It means that when a woman is appointed to the army, then that female military officer will be able to work in the army till the age of retirement. 
• However, if a woman officer would like to resign for some reason, she can resign. All women officers working in the army under the Short Service Commission will be given an option to choose a permanent commission. 
• Now, women officers will also be entitled to pension after getting a permanent commission.

Background

Short Service Commission (SSC) scheme allows women officers into the Army for a period of 10 years, extendable up to 14 years. However, women were restricted to specific responsibilities such as Corps of Engineers, Army Education Corps, Corps of Signals and Intelligence Corps. SSC scheme doesn’t allow women officers in combat roles like armoured corps and infantry.

On the other hand, SSC provides an option to male army officers to opt for permanent commission at the end of ten years of service. Women officers were not allowed for permanent commission. Also, women officers could not qualify for a government pension.

In February 2019, the Government of India endorsed the permanent commission for women officers in 10 different roles of ‘Combat Support Arms’ and ‘Services’ sections. However, it was also mentioned in the policy statement that women officers will not be given any command appointments but they will serve in staff posts only.

What is Permanent Commission in Army?

Permanent Commission refers to a career till the age of retirement. It means an officer gets selected through the Permanent Commission and serve the nation up to the age of 60. An Army officer has to join the National Defence Academy (NDA), (Indian Military Academy) IMA or Officers Training Academy (OTA) for permanent commission.

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