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39 women military officers will get permanent commission, the Supreme Court ordered

The Supreme Court on Friday directed the central government to grant permanent commission to 39 women military officers within seven working days. The top court gave this order after the central government informed that 39 out of 71 army officers have been found eligible for permanent commission under the court order. Appreciating the efforts of the Defense Ministry, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Dhananjay Y Chandrachud asked all these 39 women officers to be granted permanent commission by November 1.

At the beginning of the hearing on Friday, the Additional Solicitor General, appearing for the central government, told the bench that one of the 72 women applicants has taken the decision to retire on her own. He said that out of the remaining 71 women officers, seven were declared medically unfit while 25 officers were not considered eligible for permanent commission due to reasons including discipline. Jain said that these 25 women officers were not considered eligible for permanent commission as per the norms followed for male military officers.

He said that there was no discrimination in this. The rest 39 women officers have been considered eligible for grant of permanent commission. Taking Jain’s submissions on record, the bench ordered the grant of permanent commission to 39 women officers within seven working days. At the same time, the bench asked the Center to explain through a chart what was the basis behind the 25 officers who were not considered eligible for permanent commission.

The apex court was hearing contempt petitions filed by women officers. In March last, the Supreme Court, in Lt Col Nitisha’s case, held that all women officers who satisfy the 60 per cent cut-off are entitled to “permanent commission” provided they fulfill the medical criteria etc. But the petitioner women officers said that despite the condition of 60 percent cut off, they are being given permanent commission. After which the Supreme Court on October 1 had stayed his discharge till further orders and asked the government to reconsider the issue.