New Delhi [India], Feb 18 (ANI): In a landmark judgment restoring the rights of women Army officers, the Supreme Court on Monday said that the permanent commission (PC) will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service.
"The policy decision which has been taken by the Union Government allowing for the grant of PCs to SSC women officers in all the ten streams where women have been granted SSC in the Indian Army is accepted," a two-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said in its verdict on Monday.
The apex court said all serving women officers on SSC shall be considered for the grant of PCs irrespective of any of them having crossed fourteen years or, as the case may be, twenty years of service. The option shall be granted to all women presently in service as SSC officers.
Women officers on SSC with more than fourteen years of service who do not opt for being considered for the grant of the PCs will be entitled to continue in service until they attain twenty years of pensionable service.
It also said that as a one-time measure, the benefit of continuing in service until the attainment of pensionable service shall also apply to all the existing SSC officers with more than fourteen years of service who are not appointed on PC.
"SSC women officers with over twenty years of service who are not granted PC shall retire on pension in terms of the policy decision," the Apex Court said, and added that at the stage of opting for the grant of PC, all the choices for specialization shall be available to women officers on the same terms as for the male SSC officers.
Women SSC officers shall be entitled to exercise their options for being considered for the grant of PCs on the same terms as their male counterparts, the Apex Court said in its verdict on Monday.
The SSC women officers who are granted PC in pursuance of the above directions will be entitled to all consequential benefits including promotion and financial benefits. However, these benefits would be made available to those officers in service or those who had moved the Delhi High Court by filing the writ petitions and those who had retired during the course of the pendency of the proceedings.
The apex court also said that courts are indeed conscious of the limitations which issues of national security and policy impose on the judicial evolution of doctrine in matters relating to the Armed forces.
The SC also said that for this reason, we have noticed that the engagement of women in the Combat Arms has been specifically held to be a matter of policy by the judgment of the Delhi High Court and which is not in question in the present appeals. (ANI)