Acknowledging the perseverance and tenacity of the petitioners, the judgment said :
“We must not forget that those women officers who have remained in service are those with the tenacity to hold on and to meet the exacting standards of performance of which the Indian Army has made her citizens proud. It is also important for us to bear in mind that a career in the Army comes with a serious set of trials and tribulations of a transferable service with postings in difficult terrains, even in times of peace. This is rendered infinitely more difficult when society relegates functions of domestic labour, care-giving and childcare exclusively on the shoulders of women”.
“The WSSCOs before us are not just women who have dedicated their lives to the ervice of the Army, but are women who have persevered through difficult conditions as they trudged along a lengthy litigation to avail the simplest of equality with their male counterparts. They do not come to the Court seeking charity or favour. They implore us for a restoration of their dignity, when even strongly worded directions by the Court in Babita Puniya (supra) have not trickled down into a basic assessment of not subjecting unequals to supposedly “neutral parameters”.”
The Court in conclusion observed :
“…we are of the view that the evaluation criteria set by the Army constituted systemic discrimination against the petitioners. The pattern of evaluation deployed by the Army, to implement the decision in Babita Puniya (supra) disproportionately affects women. This disproportionate impact is attributable to the structural discrimination against women, by dint of which the facially neutral criteria of selective ACR evaluation and fulfilling the medical criteria to be in SHAPE-1 at a belated stage, to secure PC disproportionately impacts them vis-à-vis their male counterparts. The pattern of evaluation, by excluding subsequent achievements of the petitioners and failing to account for the inherent patterns of discrimination that were produced as a consequence of casual grading and skewed incentive structures, has resulted in indirect and systemic discrimination. This discrimination has caused an economic and psychological harm and an affront to their dignity”
It passed the following directions.
1. The administrative requirements adopted by the Army Authorities is ‘arbitrary and irrational” and shall not be enforced
2. All women officers who have satisfied the 60% cut-off are entitled to PC subject to satisfaction of medical criteria as given below and satisfaction of vigilance and disciplinary clearance.
3. The medical criteria adopted by the Army in August 2020 shall be applied at the 5th or 10th year of their service as the case may be.
4. All officers other than non-optees officers to be considered for grant of permanent commission as per terms, within 2 months
5. The decision already taken to grant permanent commission to some of the women officers in terms of the Babita Puniya judgment shall not be disturbed.