New Delhi, Nov 25 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Centre’s response on a plea by 17 Indian Army women officers alleging that the Army has not granted permanent commission (PC) to even to 50 per cent of the women applicants.
A bench, headed by Justice D.Y.Chandrachud, asked the Centre to bring record the information, through a chart, providing details of the status of each applicant.
The top court has listed the matter for further hearing in December.
The plea, filed through advocate Archana Pathak Dave, assailed the arbitrary criterion adopted by board for permanent commissions, which denied benefit to deserving women candidates.
Arguing that the exercise of granting permanent commissions has been carried out “more in optics that in substance”, the plea emphasised that the Army has not granted permanent commissions to even 50 per cent of the total number of women officers distributed in 31 batches.
On February 17, the apex court had delivered a landmark verdict extending permanent commission to women Short Service Commission Officers at par with their male counterparts.
Senior advocate P.S.Patwalia, representing some women candidates, submitted one of his clients has completed 20 years in service, yet she has not been granted permanent commissions.He emphasized that if matter is heard on another date, then his client will be relieved from the service.
He submitted another client, who is completing her engineering course, has been denied permanent commission, and she had received no clarification on it as he insisted on an interim status quo order till the next date of hearing.
The bench declined to entertain this argument citing that it has not seen counter affidavit from the Centre.
Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing another set of women officers, submitted that many of the women who were not selected for permanent commissions are decorated officers.She cited media reports that out of 615 candidates, only 277 had been granted permanent commissions, and insisted this should not be a partial victory for women in the armed forces.
The bench asked Centre’s counsel to seek instruction for ensuring no precipitative action till matter come up for hearing on next date.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the Centre, said the government will respond to all 17 petitioners before the court individually.