The petitioners said the government had already adopted the policy of a permanent commission for WOs in the Army in the combat support stream. (File)
Women Army officers who moved the Supreme Court for a permanent commission have countered objections raised by the Centre against giving them command posts in the ten command support arms where they are currently working saying denying them the posts will be an “extremely retrograde step” and “will inflict irreparable injury” to their dignity.
The court has already reserved its verdict in the case.
In their written submission, filed through senior Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, the officers also objected to the contention that given the current composition of the largely male Army and the background of the troops, they “are not yet mentally schooled to accept WOs (Woman Officers) in command of Units”.
The objection, they said “is not only highly regressive but also completely contrary to the demonstrated record and statistics”. The petition said “the demonstrated fact is that the WOs have been serving in the 10 Combat Support Arms for the last 27-28 years and have proven their mettle and courage under fire. They have been found suitable by the organisation itself and have led platoons and companies... in the 10 Combat Support Arms. There has never been any occasion of soldiers/men having refused or not accepted the command of women on account of their perceived ‘rural background, with prevailing societal norms’.”
The petitioners said the government had already adopted the policy of a permanent commission for WOs in the Army in the combat support stream. “Further, the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy, also having adopted the policy... it is extremely unfortunate that reasons of women lacking on various counts, prevailing societal norms and lack of combat exposure etc., are being cited as lame excuses.”
“The issue is denial of command appointments and criteria appointments i.e. non-staff appointment to WOs who are found suitable and fit... in the 10 combat support arms that they are working in for almost last 3 decades”, they said.