ibnlive » India

Sep 18, 2009 at 09:46pm IST

No permanent commission for women in Army

New Delhi: There is no scope for granting permanent commission to women in the Army, the government told the Delhi High Court on Friday.

Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramanium submitted before Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the granting of permanent commission to women officers on short service commission in the Indian Army is not possible.

However, the court has stayed the retirement of the officers involved in the litigation till the final outcome of the case and the matter was posted for final arguments November 19.

MEN FOR THE JOB: Indian Army soldiers on a patrol in Jammu and Kashmir.

The court was hearing the plea of over 20 officers who have filed a public interest petition challenging the government's proposal of September 29, 2008, to bypass them for future grant of permanent commission.

Currently, women are inducted in the Army as officers under the Short Service Commission for a maximum period of 14 years though their male counterparts are eligible to receive permanent commission after five years.

But Subramanium was clear with his brief when he said the government policy would in effect be "prospectively" for future batches of women officers as the training and examination processes of women candidates have to be fine-tuned to suit the "additional avenues" opening up for them in the armed forces.

As an immediate succor for them, the solicitor general said: "short service officers are given an option to join a business course at top schools like the Indian Institutes of Management so as to immediately interface with a corporation."

But the bench did not agree with the government's contention and asked why there is a difference between male and female officers.

"We have doubts on why you should do it for male officers and not for the women. Why are they treated differently?" the court asked.

"There are 35 percent vacancies in various departments. These women officers are highly trained and have been doing the same jobs for 14 years. But the armed forces do not want them any more despite the vacancies available," said Rekha Palli, counsel for the officers.

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