Womens in Army, Supreme Court on Permanent Commission to Women Officer - Editorial

Background Context 

Recently, in a milestone verdict, the Apex Court, has supported a Delhi High court order of 2010 that aims to confer permanent commission to women officers aligned similarly with their male counterparts. The Apex Court of India has again demonstrated, how the constitutional approach of non-discrimination environment can attain in demolishing inflexible and stubborn structures of discrimination based on gender widespread, in state and respective civil society. Alongside conferring a duty to women in combat arms, the verdict significantly highlights the denial of civil right (equal opportunity) in their existing duty of command for further promotion to higher commands.

Womens in Army, Supreme Court on Permanent Commission to Women Officer in Indian Armed Forces

Women in Army: Backstory of the case 

  1. The posting of women officers in the Indian Army initiated in 1992. 
  2. Women were commissioned and effectively posted for a tenure of five years in selective trades like Education, Corps of Signals, Intelligence, and Engineering. 
  3. Women were entered into the armoured services through Women Special Entry Scheme (WSES). WSES also had, a shorter training period compared to the Short Service Commission (SSC). 
  4. However, in 2006, the SSC was uniformly implemented for women as well and eventually replaced WSES. 
  5. Women recruited and commissioned through the WSES are initially commissioned for 10 years and can be extended to 14 years of service. Women officers, however, had choices of free will either to maneuverer to the new SSC or they can continue their armed force services under WSES.
  6. Although they were confined to limited roles in specific trades mentioned earlier and were not included in the direct armoured corps.

Condemn to the Government’s Arguments 

  1. The mention that portrayed women officer in less light, citing armoured hardship and continuous isolation would fret their moral and resolution, and they might want to heed to the call of family life, pregnancy and childbirth, etc. 
  2. CONFLICT ONES: Least possibility of habitable facilities, life supplies and hygiene in the conflict zone, takes a heavy toll on security personnel’s mental and physical health.
  3. A citation that also clearly highlighted the risk of being captured by the enemy and kept in captivity for years as prisoners of war.
  4. The Apex Court ruled out that these mentions and citations are primitive and age-old patriarchal belief and opinion that favoured obligations and commitments rested only with Women.
  5. The court also ruled out that women are in any given case are not physiological weaker than men, and any such mention should be treated as “sex stereotype”. 
  6. Supreme Court clearly citied that doubting the abilities of Indian women on the ground of gender, is clearly gender discrimination and not only hurtful towards the women's dignity but also to the dignity of Indian Army men and all women personnel's who rightfully serve the nation to their utmost abilities and towards a common mission.

Two Key Arguments Discarded by the Apex Court. 

The Centre puts forwards the argument for the appropriate justification and explanation from the Apex Courts for the veridiction on the grounds of permanent commission, the reason for discrimination against women, grants of pensionary benefits, concerns about the occupational hazards, support of SSC, and mainly for the reasons & excuses for the physiological limitations for appointment or commissioning of staff appointment. However, the apex court dismissed these arguments, citing that they are preliminary sex stereotypes, an antediluvian preference of assumptions about the social assigned titles to gender engaged in discrimination against women. The Apex Court dismissed the centre's arguments against higher roles for women officer, citing these arguments form the centre voids the equalities, according to the constitution of India. Moreover, the arguments relating to biological differences were also dismissed, mentioning those arguments as disturbing and pointless.

Association and Connection of the Judgement 

  1. The main aim behind ruling out the decision of the Apex Court, is uniform non-discrimination, the commission of officers. Article 16 (Constitution of India), mentions that gender cannot only be considered for the basis for unfair and unequal treatment and inequalities in any employment sphere, that also accommodates to armoured forces. 
  2. The right of equality in Article 14, has to be directed or authorised by the right to psychology that prohibits any “covering” and “absolute” prohibition.
  3. The involvement and association of the Judgement will have to be taken care of by the HR department of the Indian Army, although it will be required to restructure the policy to accommodate and comply.
  4. Although, the major paradigm shift is needed in protocols in place, the operational environment, culture, ranks of the Army, which will be the exclusive responsibility of the military veteran and senior political leadership.
  5. Apex Court decision was a bit hard for military services to digest but had no choice but to accept the progressive judgement and implement accordingly for the better good.
  6. There are some very successful armies, where women had lead combat roles, some of these are Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Australia, etc. 
  7. The successful implementation and deployment of the “Gender Equality” can be realized by practising professional standard and adhering to those standards in an unbiased manner.


The current scenario is inclined with a bundle of judgments that the Supreme Court send out in recent years so as to deal with various sorts of gender discrimination in Indian society and to practice an unbiased Right to Equality. Primarily making gender equality least dependent on executives’ mood swings in the main aim of the judiciary’s recent judgement. Enabling the gender equality resistant to judicial re-visitation, remains the utmost duty of all Indian citizens, especially the empathetic of feminist's citizen's movement for consistency as a brooch for constitutional rights and justice. It is the need of time for Indian armoured forced essentially, to grow and step-up and move forward towards, unbiased gender mainstreaming and gender equality in the Indian armed forces.

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