Give permanent Army posts to women: HC

In a landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered granting of permanent commissions to 50 short service commissioned (SSC) women officers belonging to both the Army and the Air Force who had accused the government of gender discrimination. The judgment by a division bench of the court, comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Mool Chand Garg, came on a bunch of petitions by several SSC women officers.

The IAF women officers among the petitioners had contended that the Air Force had promised in a recruitment advertisement that SSC officers would be offered permanent commissions after completion of five years in service and subject to availability of vacancies and suitability of the candidates. They further contended that the IAF had changed the recruitment policy in May 2006, which now states that no SSC officers, whether male or female, would be given permanent commissions.

The SSC women officers of the Air Force submitted before the court that they were not given permanent commissions when they applied for it. However, their counterpart male officers working with them were granted permanent commissions, which they said was discriminatory.

The defence ministry, as the well as the Army and the Air Force, are yet to react officially to the high court ruling, and sources indicated that the government might challenge the order in the Supreme Court. Sources said there were vacancies only in certain ranks.

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