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With bigger role for women officers, Army set for new chapter

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Army to commission 1st batch of women soldiers in 2021New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) After the Supreme Court ordered the Indian Army to grant permanent commission to women officers within three months, a new chapter in the Indian Army will start with the women officers looking for a bigger role to play.

All women officers serving in the force from now on would be considered for permanent commission.

A communication dated February 25, 2019, for the grant of permanent commission to SSC women officers in eight arms or services of the Army, in addition to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps (AEC), which had been opened up earlier for permanent commission, will be fully applicable, sources in the Indian Army stated.

All women officers with over 14 years of service will be given options for permanent commission and pension at 20 years of service. All women officers with over 20 years of service and not qualifying for permanent commission will retire with pension.

“The command appointment will be open to women officers subject to meeting the suitability criteria as decided by the organisation,” sources said.

They stated that all consequential benefits would be granted to the women officers who were before the court.

The sources further stated that the government on May 4, 2018 in an affidavit before the Supreme Court had also submitted that women officers with below 14 years of service would be considered for permanent commission in new streams. The government had also pointed that women officers with above 14 years of service will be permitted to serve till 20 years of service and be retired with a pension.

Earlier in the day, a bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi, said, “Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers, both within the period of fourteen years” service and beyond, should equally be entitled to consideration for the grant of PCs.”

The court insisted that typical arguments founded on the physical strengths and weaknesses of men and women and on assumptions about women in the social context of marriage and family do not constitute a constitutionally valid basis for denying equal opportunity to women officers.

“To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army – men and women – who serve as equal citizens in a common mission,” noted the top court.

–IANS

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