Army to give permanent commission to women in two monthsBy IANS
Monday, August 2, 2010
NEW DELHI - The government Monday told the Supreme Court that it would consider giving permanent commission within two months to women serving as short service commission officers in the legal and education branches of the Indian Army.
The government has sought time to implement its undertaking.
An apex court bench headed by Justice J.M. Panchal stayed the contempt proceedings against the defence ministry arising out of a Delhi High Court verdict directing the grant of permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.
On July 26, the apex court asked the ministry to produce an army notification that makes women ineligible for permanent commission in the regular army.
The court direction came during the hearing on an appeal filed by the army against a verdict of the high court in which it was directed to extend permanent commission to women officer in the regular army.
The Indian Air Force has already granted permanent commission to women.
The ministry took the stand that a notification issued in pursuance of Section 12 of the Army Act, 1950 excluded women from getting permanent commission in the regular army.
On the face of it, the notification appeared to be in breach of constitutional provisions guaranteeing equality before law but it was not so, the ministry told the court.
Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi told the apex court that Section 12 of the Army Act was protected by constitutional provisions that permitted certain restrictions on employment in defence services.
Article 33 of the constitution empowers parliament to modify the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens, he claimed.
On Tripathi’s submission, the court said these objections should have been raised at the threshold challenging the maintainability of the petition before the high court.
Counsel for respondent Babita Puniya said there was not even a whisper of these objections before the high court.