SC directs Centre to issue orders granting 39 women Army officers Permanent Commission in seven working days


New Delhi, Oct 22: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre to issue orders granting Permanent Commission (PC) to 39 Women Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers in the Army in seven working days.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna also asked the Centre to furnish the details of 25 officers with reasons, who were not considered for Permanent Commission.

Earlier, the Bench had asked the Centre to file an affidavit explaining why 72 women SSC officers have been rejected from the grant of Permanent Commission.

Today, the Centre informed the apex court that after re-examining the case of each 72 women SSC officers, one officer has decided to quit.

39 officers can be considered for PC, seven have been found medically unfit and 25 officers cannot be granted PC as they have adverse ACR reports of indiscipline and disobedience and poor operational report, Centre told the Bench.
The apex court said that in respect of the officers forming part of the group of 36 women SSC officers who have filed four contempt petitions before it and are not found eligible for grant of PC, the Centre shall file statements in a tabulated form giving the reasons for each of the officers not found eligible or are denied PC.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and senior advocate R Balasubramanian told the top court that they have re-examined the case of 72 women SSC officers in compliance with the earlier order of this court and has found 38 officers eligible for grant of PC and a case of one officer is pending consideration, which in all probability will be considered for PC.

Earlier, the apex court had restrained Army from discharging these 72 women officers who were not considered for PC, till further hearing of the matter and had sought a response from the Centre and Army on why these officers were not considered for the service.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by the women officers who alleged that the apex court’s March 25 order was not considered and all 72 of them were rejected from consideration for the Permanent Commission at one go.

In its March 25 order, the top court had directed the Army to consider granting Permanent Commission to the women Short Sevice Commission Officers subject to their obtaining 60 per cent marks in the assessment subjects, being found fit on medical criteria as per the August 1, 2020 order of the Army and having received disciplinary and vigilance clearances.

On March 25, the apex court had said that the evaluation criteria set by the Army for granting permanent commission to women serving Short Service Commission (SSC) officers constituted “systemic discrimination” which has caused an “economic and psychological harm” and an “affront to their dignity”.

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

The apex court 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. (Agencies)