Larger Roles for Women in Indian Forces

Larger Roles for Women in Indian Forces

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Larger roles for women in forces

Finally, there is a good news and sigh of relief for woman officers of Indian Army. They can now provide their services in more streams of the organization, and complete their term with more years of services, to be eligible to command and entitles for pension. Five months back, Supreme Court of India allowed Permanent Commission (PC) for women officers recruited through Short Service Commission (SSC). Now, the formal order of the Ministry of Defence has come to allow women officers to serve in eight additional streams of Indian Army.

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Changes in role of women officers as PC

Women SSC officers were till now allowed to serve as permanent commissioned officers only in two streams. And those streams are:

  • Judge and Advocate General (JAG)
  • Army Educational Corps (AEC)

With the government sanction letter, women SSC officers will now play larger roles with permanent commissioning in eight additional streams. And these steams are:

  • Army Air Defence (AAD)
  • Signals
  • Engineers
  • Army Aviation
  • Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME)
  • Army Service Corps (ASC)
  • Army Ordnance Corps (AOC)
  • Intelligence Corps

However, there are four other streams of Army where women SSC officers are still barred to work. And these streams are:

  • Infantry
  • Armoured
  • Mechanised Infantry
  • Artillery

Larger roles for women officers in forces

The Army Headquarters is now preparing for actions for the conduct of the Permanent Commission Selection Board for Women Officers. Once all the SSC women officers exercise their option and present the required documents, the Selection Board will come in action to start process of permanent selection of women officers in different streams.

The selection process of SSC women officers as permanent commission officers will be based on a number of points. This includes vacancy availability, willingness for selection along with suitability, performance, medical fitness and competitive merit of the candidates. Only those aspirants who apply for and pass the above selection process can serve as permanent commissioned officers.

SC order to change women officers’ role

The SSC male and female officers, who join for a term of 10 to 15 years get this option to become PC officers. Till now, while their male counterparts could opt for PC services in all streams at the end of 10 years of their term, women officers had no such option to join except in two streams as PC officers. However, now women officers can shoulder larger responsibilities in eight additional streams and avail more service benefits.

Earlier, the women officers were kept out of command appointment. And they had no entitlement for pension schemes, which starts only after serving for 20 years on officer rank in Army. After this new directive, the women officers, who had been serving for the Army without an option of permanent selection during their tenure, can now exercise their option for the same.

Court case history on larger roles for women

On February 17, the SC directed that the women SSC officers in Indian Army must be granted for Permanent Commission along with command posts in non-combat areas, in line with the equality defined under Article 14. Earlier in 2003, the case was first filed in Delhi High Court by women officers, who won it in 2010.

Delhi HC’s order in favor of women officers was never implemented,and also challenged by the centre in the SC. Finally on July 7, the apex court gave one extra month to center government to implement its directions. Earlier in March this year, the top court paved the way of permanent commission of women officers in Indian Navy. So that they can complete their tenure till the age of retirement, and be entitled for pension.

Navy allows PC of women officers in many streams, i.e. logistics, naval designing, air traffic control, engineering and legal. Further, the women Air Force officers recruited through SSC have the option for PC in all the streams except flying department. In all three services, women officers get permanent commission in many streams i.e. medical, education, legal, signals, logistics and engineering.

With this, the country is finally moving ahead in terms of respecting the gender equality because as court said an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command can never go hand in hand with our constitution, through which we claim to give same right of equality to men and women of the country.

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