July 26, 2020
Formal government sanction letter has been issued by Ministry Of Defence for granting of the permanent commission of women officers in the army.
Supreme Court in February 2020 had given a verdict that directed the government to grant woman officers permanent commission and commanding postings in all services other than the field of combat.
The Indian army is an oriented army. It means anyone who has to be given further positions up, the chain of command has to be the first experience in command at the level of full colonel, a unified command. Earlier, this position was denied to a woman that raised concerns.
The central Govt told Supreme Court that motherhood, childcare, psychological limitations, family separation, career prospective of spouses, prolonged absence due to pregnancy have a bearing on the employment of women officers in the army.
The case running at Supreme Court was not about granting a role to women in combat arms but about the denial of equal opportunity in their existing roles for promoting to higher commands.
As women officers are already commanding platoons, companies and second in command successfully, with male soldiers accepting orders from them as part of a professional force. Now, when they are being excluded from commanding a unit, only on the basis that they are women. This argument doesnt hold water.
Supreme Court has dismissed the union govt’s submission that women are physiologically weaker than men as a sex stereotype and declared that Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers are eligible for permanent commission and command posts in the army irrespective of their years of service.
There is no need to give women any special dispensations but the government cannot promote discrimination on the basis of gender. It must move towards gender mainstreaming in army and further achieve gender equality by establishing professional standards and adhering to them without any bias.
In the army, soldiers are trained to respect professionalism, good leadership, irrespective of whether it is demonstrated by a male or a female officer.
Written By MOUSAMI JENA
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