In a watershed moment for the Indian military, the Supreme Court today said women officers in the Army can get command positions on par with male officers, asserting that the government’s arguments against it were “discriminatory”, “disturbing,” and based on stereotype. The court also said permanent commission would be available to all women, regardless of their years of service.
The judgment has to be implemented within three months.
Simply described, a woman can rise to the rank of Colonel and above based on merit, like their male counterparts. At the rank of Colonel, an officer picks up a substantive command and would be delegated to carry our independent tasks. A Colonel commands a battalion, which typically consists of 850 men. A woman officer who is successful in this position could technically rise to the highest ranks of the Army though, at the moment, women officers will not be inducted into the combat arms such as the infantry, artillery or armoured corps.
The Supreme Court said even women who have served more than 14 years in the Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Army can have the option of permanent commission. The court commented that there was a “fundamental fallacy” in the centre’s policy of considering only women with less than 14 years for permanent commission.
The court said the army could not discriminate between men and women, striking down blatant gender bias…