One Month’s time has been granted by the Supreme Court to implement the Permanent Commission Grant and Command Posts for eligible women officers in the Indian Army.
The Application was filed by the Centre and heard by a Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud for an extension of 6 months to implement the judgement that had been delivered on 17th February 2020 by Justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi.
The judgment had directedin all the ten streams where the Union Government had already taken a decision to grant Short Service Commission to women, that Permanent Commission should be granted to women in the Army, regardless of their service.
Further, the Court hadheld that absolute exclusion of women from command assignments is against the tenets of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the policy had to be held unenforceable where women would be given only “staff appointments”.
“An absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not comport with the guarantee of equality under Article 14. Implicit in the guarantee of equality is that where the action of the State does differentiate between two classes of persons, it does not differentiate between them in an unreasonable or irrational manner”.
The judgment stated that the blanket non-consideration of women for criteria or command posts and appointments absent an individuated justification by the Army and cannot be sustained in law.
On note to take the necessary steps for compliance within three months from the date of the judgement, the judgement was concluded However, today, submissions were made to the Bench by the Ministry of Defence that decision-making was at its final stage and that only formal orders were to be issued for command posts.
Accordingly, the submission was accepted that the delay in implementation of the judgment was due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and one month extension to comply with its February verdict was allowed the Government for command posts.