Monday, July 5, 2010

HC issues contempt notice to Army chief on commission issue

Press Trust Of India New Delhi, July 05, 2010
The Delhi High Court today issued contempt notice to the Army chief after the force failed to comply with its previous order directing grant of permanent commission to serving women officers, who were selected on short service commission basis.

Justice G S Sistani also sought response from the Secretary, Defence Ministry, by August 18 on a petition filed by Lt Colonel Sangita Sardana and other serving women officers of the Indian Army alleging that the force failed to grant Permanent Commission to them.

The court had in May also stayed Army's decision to release the next batch of women officers.

Appearing before the court, counsel for officers Rekha Palli argued that contempt of court proceedings be initiated against the respondent (Army) for "willful disobedience" of the judgement.

She further contended that "the Indian Air force has complied with the High Court directions and implemented the same last month whereas, the Army failed to make its stand clear and has taken a decision to release some officers belonging to the next batch despite court's order staying the same."

The High Court had on March 12 directed the government to allow grant of permanent commission to women officers serving in the defence services on the petitions filed by more than 60 serving and retired lady officers.

"There were also male officers performing the same task. If the male officers can be granted permanent commission while performing those tasks, there is no reason why equally capable women officers cannot be granted permanent commission. It is not a charity being sought by the women officers but enforcement of their own Constitutional rights," the court had said.

It had also turned down the plea of the government that permanent commission can be allowed only for future recruitment and the benefit cannot be given retrospectively for the serving and retired lady officers who had approached the court.

"These women officers have served the Armed Forces of the country well in the areas of operation they were recruited for and have worked in this capacity for 14 to 15 years. They deserve better from the respondents (government)," the court had said.
HC issues contempt notice to Army chief on commission issue: Hindustan Times
Contempt notice to Army chief on permanent commission for women: Deccan Herald
Present Status
Currently, 5,137 women officers serve in the armed forces. They include 4,101 in the Indian Army, 784 in IAF, and 252 in Indian Navy. This includes women granted permanent commissions in the Army Medical Corps, the Army Dental Corps and their equivalents in the other two services as also in the Military Nursing Service.

In the army, women serve in support arms like the Corps of Signals, Army Ordnance Corps, the Corps of Electronic and Mechanical Engineers and the Army Service Corps.

In the IAF, women are inducted in all streams barring the fighter stream. In the Indian Navy there are restrictions on posting women officers aboard ships and submarines.
Permanent commissions for women: Notice issued to Indian Army chief
MoD delaying tactics
The defence ministry and Army are likely to approach the Supreme Court to review the high court judgment because it's felt granting Permanent Commission to women officers will lead to "practical and operational problems". Permanent Commission for women officers in the armed forces, following a government decision in 2008, is restricted as of now to wings like education and law, which do not involve command of men or units.
Army chief gets HC notice over parity to women: The Telegraph

MOD Clarifies
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Certain reports have appeared in the media that the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has issued a contempt of Court against the Chief of Army Staff and Defence Secretary, on the Delhi High Court Order, in respect of Granting Permanent Commission to Women Officers. It is clarified that “the Delhi High Court has sent only a notice on the plea of women officers, to the Army Headquarters to explain its position on the directions given by the Delhi High Court in this regard”.

In this matter, meanwhile, Ministry of Defence has filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court.
Permanent Commission to Women Officers: SLP slapped
Women in Army: Govt takes battle to Supreme Court

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