'Irrational': Supreme Court on rules for women in the Army

Sagar Malik
·2-min read

25 Mar 2021: 'Irrational': Supreme Court on rules for women in the Army

The medical fitness criteria for women to get Permanent Commission in the Indian Army are "arbitrary" and "irrational," the Supreme Court said today.

The top court was pronouncing its verdict on petitions filed by around 80 women Army officers.

The SC also observed that women officers must be considered for Permanent Commission in a fair manner.

Here are more details on this.

Details: 'Created by males, for males'

"We must recognize here that structure of our society has been created by males for males," the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

The apex court concluded that the Army's selective Annual Confidential Report (ACR) evaluation and late implementation of the medical fitness criterion is discriminative against women officers.

"The pattern of evaluation causes economic and psychological harm to SSC (Short Service Commission) women officers."

Fact: Only 277 of 615 eligible women officers got PC: Petition

In their petition, the women officers reportedly claimed that 615 women officers of the Short Service Commission (SSC) were eligible for Permanent Commission, but only 277 eventually made it to the final list.

Details: 'Looks like Board sat for rejection rather than selection'

"Several of the women officers before the court had won several awards. Several had done well on overseas assignments," DY Chandrachud, who presided the bench with Justice MR Shah, said.

"We find that those excelled in sports events were ignored, a detailed list of achievements by women has been given in the judgment...It looks like the Board was sitting for rejection rather than selection."

History: PC available to all women officers, SC ruled last year

In a landmark moment for the Indian Army, the Supreme Court had last year allowed women Army officers to be eligible for command positions at par with the male officers, saying that the government's arguments against it were "disturbing."

The top court had also said that Permanent Commission would be available to all the women officers, irrespective of their years of service.

Fact: IAF, Navy have already granted PC to women officers

It should be noted that the Indian Air Force (IAF) as well as the Indian Navy have already granted Permanent Commission to their women officers. Both these forces have also allowed some combat roles for women.