Women Officers Can Now Pursue Lifetime Careers in the Navy: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has ruled that women can have permanent commission in the Indian Navy. It reflects a larger trend in the judiciary mandating women be treated at par with men in the military.
In 2008, marking a progressive shift towards gender equality in the military, the government had paved the path for granting permanent commission to women officers in the Navy. However, a series of litigation and confusion had plagued this move, especially regarding its retrospective application to the women officers, who had been serving the country before this policy came into effect in 2008. The Supreme Court’s judgment on Monday, while hearing an appeal by the Indian Navy, has managed to restore some semblance of order to this chaos.
“A hundred and one excuses are no answer to the constitutional entitlement to dignity, which attaches to every individual irrespective of gender, to fair and equal conditions of work and to a level playing field. A level playing field ensures that women have the opportunity to overcome their histories of discrimination with the surest of responses based on their competence, ability, and performance,” stated the bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud on Monday.
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Last month, the apex court had ruled that women officers in the Indian Army should have access to command positions and receive permanent commissions.
Now, the court has held that denying women permanent commission in the Navy is not just blatantly discriminatory, but would result in a gross miscarriage of justice to women officers who have served the nation.