New Delhi, October 29: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the Union government time till December 31 to implement its March 17 judgment, which upheld the right of women naval officers to be considered for permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.
The court had upheld the women officers’ right for a level-playing field in the Defence Services to overcome “histories of discrimination”.
The court had said that women officers in the Short Service Commission (SSC), serving in the field of education, law and logistics cadres of the Navy, should be considered for the grant of permanent commission. It had originally given three months’ time to the Centre to complete the modalities.
However, in August, the women officers returned to the court complaining about the delay in the implementation of the judgment.
On Thursday, a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud agreed to extend the timeline after the government said it needed more time for preparations owing to the pandemic, The Hindu reported.
In the March judgment, the court said the “101 excuses” devised by the government to deter women from being on a par with men, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset.
“The battle for gender equality is about confronting the battles of the mind. In the context of the Armed Forces, specious reasons have been advanced by decision makers and administrators. They range from physiology, motherhood and physical attributes to the male dominated hierarchies,” Justice Chandrachud observed in a 64-page judgment in March.
This order was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers who were denied PC and discharged despite completing 14 years of service. They had challenged a February 26, 2008 policy letter of the government granting PC to SSC officers in all the three branches of the armed forces.