Topics Covered: Issues related to women.
Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Navy
What to study?
For Prelims: PC- features and benefits.
For Mains: Need for and significance of PC.
Context: The Supreme Court has upheld the right of serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the Navy to be granted permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.
The judgment was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers who were denied PC and discharged despite completing 14 years of service as SSC officers.
- They had challenged a February 26, 2008 policy letter of the government granting PCs to SSC officers in all the three branches of the Armed Forces. However, the offer was restricted to certain categories and was to operate prospectively for the benefit of future batches inducted on SSCs after January 2009.
- The Supreme Court on 17 February upheld a 2010 Delhi high court ruling and had directed the Centre to ensure that women officers are given permanent commissions in the Indian Army on a par with male officers, including for command posting.
Observations made by the Supreme Court:
- Women officers have worked shoulder to shoulder with their men counterparts in every walk of service.
- Therefore, the “101 excuses” devised by the government, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset.
- And women naval officers cannot be denied the right to equal opportunity and dignity entitled to under the Constitution on specious grounds such as physiology, motherhood and physical attributes.
Implications of the judgment:
- Women naval officers will now be eligible to apply for permanent commission.
- All serving women short service commission (SSC) officers in at least seven wings, including the executive, engineering, electrical, education, law and logistics, will be eligible to apply.
- The grant of PCs will be subject to: (i) availability of vacancies in the stabilised cadre; (ii) Suitability of the candidate; and (iii) recommendation by the chief of Naval Staff.
What is a permanent commission?
A permanent commission entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike short service commission (SSC), which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.
- SSC vs PC- differences and benefits.
- Status of PC for women in Army vs Navy vs Airforce.
- Women Special Entry scheme.
- Combat vs non combat roles.
Discuss why women officers in the navy should be granted permanent commission. What are the benefits associated?
Sources: the Hindu.