The government on Wednesday sought to counter the criticism it faced for submissions made in the Supreme Court on Tuesday about why women were not ideally suited for combat roles or command in the army by claiming these were taken out of context. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta claimed the nuances of the submissions were missed. “Women should not strive to be equal to men. They are in fact way above men”, Mehta submitted. The bench headed by justice DY Chandrachud concurred with the solicitor general. 

The submissions were made in a plea by the Defence Ministry challenging a 2010 judgment of the Delhi high court which had ruled that short service commissioned women officers in the Army and Air Force should be granted permanent commission.

Senior advocate R Balasubramanian, appearing for the Centre, told the to court Wednesday that there was no gender discrimination in appointments and promotions in the army and all rules and provisions apply equally to men and women. He also added that the situations in combat and different physical standards of men and women are a reality. 

Justice Chandrachud remarked that even if it is assumed that women are less fit for combat roles, these are only a fraction of the roles in the military today, suggesting that they can be granted permanent commission in other roles.

“Two things are required to rid any form of gender discrimination – administrative will and change in mindset,” he added. The court reserved its judgment in the matter.

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