Defence

SC allows Centre one more month to give women officers permanent commission in Army

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to implement its February verdict granting permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army within a month, PTI reported.

The court had on February 17 ordered the Centre to grant permanent commission respecting a 2010 order of the Delhi High Court in this regard and had also ruled that women officers can get “command and criteria” appointments in the Army on par with their male counterparts. It had said that permanent commission has to be provided to all women officers in the Army regardless of their years of service, and told the Centre to implement this in three months.

The court’s latest order was passed on an application the Centre filed seeking six months’ time to implement the verdict, citing the coronavirus pandemic. India has recorded more than 7 lakh cases and over 20,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

“The applicants have commenced the process of substantial compliance of the directions issued by this Hon’ble Court in earnest and in letter and spirit,” the Ministry of Defence said in its application in court, according to News18. “However in view of the Corona pandemic and the ensuing lockdown coupled with exigencies of services, the applicants have not been able to complete the same and requires some more time to complete the process.”

The court took umbrage at “substantial compliance” in the application. “What do you mean when you use the term ‘substantial compliance’,” Justice DY Chandrachud asked the defence ministry’s counsel R Balasubramanian. “There is nothing called as ‘substantial compliance’ after the court has passed its orders. You must have to fully comply.”

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