Evaluation criteria to grant permanent commission for women Army officers arbitrary: Supreme Court

Image Source : PTI (FILE)

All women contingent of Indian Army during the rehearsal for the Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi.(PTI)

The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the benchmarks set for permanent commission for women Army officers. The court said that medical fitness requirement for women to get permanent commission is arbitrary and irrational.

The top court delivered the verdict on a batch of pleas filed by several women officers who had sought compliance of its February last year directions to the Centre for grant of permanent commission, promotions and consequential benefits.

The Supreme Court allowed the pleas and held that the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) evaluation process was flawed and discriminatory in nature. A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said that the the evaluation criteria for grant of permanent commission to women officers ignored the achievement and laurels brought by them to the Indian Army.

The bench added that process by which women officers were evaluated did not address the gender discrimination concern raised in the verdict delivered by the apex court last year.

In its landmark verdict delivered on February 17 last year, the top court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission, rejecting the Centre’s stand of their physiological limitations as being based on “sex stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.

It had had directed that within three months, all serving SSC women officers have to be considered for permanent commission irrespective of them having crossed 14 years or, as the case may be, 20 years of service.

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