SC slams Army for ‘indirect discrimination’ of women officers

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said “the structures of our society has been created by males for males”, and “equality will be farce” if change does not occur and women get equal opportunity.

The apex court was directing the Centre to consider granting permanent commission (PC) to women army officers, within a month and allow PC within 2 months after following due process.

In February, in a landmark verdict last year, the top court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission at par with their male counterparts.

Sixty women officers moved the top court stating that they were denied PC in the Army on the ground of failure to adhere to Shape- I fitness.

A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud held that Army’s selective ACR evaluation and late implementation of Shape 1 criterion discriminates and disproportionately affects women officers, who have sought PC.

The top court criticized the Army for indirectly discriminating against women short service commission officers by denying them PC, and cited that women officers who brought laurels for country in different fields have been ignored.

The Army said medical category has been applied by taking age-related factors into account. However, the top court observed that women officers were given symbolic equality and Shape-1 medical criteria cannot be applied to the women officers 10 years later.

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