Permanent Commission to Women in Indian Army

Published: September 4, 2020

The Supreme Court of India delivered a ruling that allows women to serve as permanently commissioned (PC) officers in 10 combat support arms and services of the Indian Army.

Key facts

  • The Indian Army had set in motion a series of preparatory actions for the conduct of the Permanent Commission Selection Board for affected women officers.
  • The associated Selection Board will be scheduled as soon as all affected Short Service Commissioned (SSC) women officers exercise their option and complete requisite documentation.
  • The order grant the permission of Permanent Commission (PC) to Short Service Commissioned (SSC) women officers in all the 10 streams of the Army in which they presently serve.

 Backgorund

  • The order is in line with Supreme Court verdict of February,2020
  • It directed the government to allow women Army officers as PC and command postings in all services.
  • The court had observed that excuses given by the government to deter women shows stereotypical mindset. The battle for gender equality is about confronting the battles of the mind. The Supreme Court had ordered the government to implement its decision in three months.

Significance of the judgment

  • Women officers will now be entitled to serving till the age of retirement
  • They will not be forced to look for alternative careers after 14 years.
  • It will place women officers on an equal footing with men for promotions and professional growth
  • women officers can be considered for command roles, career postings and many other opportunities to distinguish themselves professionally.
  • It will provide In-service career courses such as the National Defence College, College of Defence Management, the Army War College, etc; the Defence Services Staff College, options in higher studies such as a Master of Business Administration or a Master of Technology; pension, ex-servicemen status, etc

Concerns

  • Physiological limitations of women officers and changing battlefield scenario
  • Troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command of units and the composition of rank Physical standard
  • Physical capacity of women officers in the Indian Army remains a challenge for command of units.
  • Prolonged absence due to pregnancy, children’s education, husband’s career prospects, etc.

These terms of employment of short service commission are subject to change and conversions into PC are based on force requirements. Based on cadre forecast, an SSC officer may not ever get a chance of converting to PC if there are no vacancies.

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