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Permanent Commission for Women: SC satisfied with implementation of February verdict

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed satisfaction over implementation of its verdict asking the Army to grant permanent commission to all eligible women officers.

“It’s a victory of our nation that women aspire to achieve the highest pedestal. It’s a great feeling even for us as judges. This is what makes our life complete,” said Justice Chandrachud who headed the Bench that had on February 17 paved the way for women in command positions in the Army.

Justice Chandrachud’s comment came after senior counsel R Balasubramanian told the Bench that 70 per cent of the women officers had got permanent commission after the court’s verdict.

“Yes…I believe some 450 officers got it,” said Justice Chandrachud, who had noted in his verdict that “the right to equality is a right to rationality”.

As Balasubramanian, who represented the Centre, said that one-seventh of the officers did not opt for it, Justice Chandrachud said it could be because many of them qualify for pension.

“But that’s the choice of the women officers whether they want it or not…the fact that 70 per cent of them got it shows that they are dedicated servants, fit at this age also, as against the contention raised during hearing,” he noted.

Agreeing with the Bench, Balasubramanian termed it path-breaking.

Highlighting the laurels achieved by women officers, the Bench had in its February 27 verdict said: “Their track record of service to the nation is beyond reproach. To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army—men and women—who serve as equal citizens in a common mission”.

While allowing permanent commission for women, the Bench, however, had said: “Whether a particular candidate should or should not be granted a criteria or command assignment is a matter for the competent authority to consider having regard to all the exigencies of service, performance and organisational requirements”.