By LE Staff

New Delhi, March 25: The medical fitness requirement for women to get Permanent Commission in the army is “arbitrary” and “irrational”, the Supreme Court said Thursday while pronouncing verdict on petitions filed by around 80 women officers for permanent commission in the army.

“We must recognise here that the structure of our society has been created by males, for males,” the Supreme Court said, NDTV reported.

The Supreme Court Thursday allowed the pleas of several women SSC officers seeking grant of permanent commission in the Army and held that the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) evaluation process was flawed and discriminatory in nature.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said the process by which women officers were evaluated did not address the gender discrimination concern raised in the verdict delivered by the apex court last year.

The apex court said the evaluation criteria for grant of permanent commission to women officers ignored the achievement and laurels brought by them to the Indian Army, The Indian Express reported.

“Superficial face of equality will not be in consonance with the principles enshrined in the Constitution,” the apex court said. The court also noted that trials and tribulations of army life become more difficult when society gives women the responsibility of child care and domestic work too.

The Supreme Court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by 80 women officers for Permanent Commission in the Indian Army and Navy, seeking a direction that contempt proceedings be initiated against those who had allegedly failed in their duty to comply with the top court’s earlier judgment.

In their petitions, the women army officers have alleged that the directions were not being complied with in “letter and spirit”, news agency PTI reported.

In February 2020, the Supreme Court allowed women officers in the Army to be eligible for 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.

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