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A moment of triumph for women in the country

A moment of triumph for women in the country
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A moment of triumph for women in the country

Highlights

In a big development on Thursday, the Centre issued formal sanction letter for grant of permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army

In a big development on Thursday, the Centre issued formal sanction letter for grant of permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army. This will ensure that women officers can shoulder greater responsibilities in the organisation. The order specifically grants permanent commission to Short Service Commissioned women officers in all streams of the Indian Army apart from the existing streams of Judge and Advocate General (JAG) and Army Educational Corps (AEC). This includes the Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), and Intelligence Corps. All SSC women officers can exercise their option following which the Selection Board will be convened. The Union government's latest step is in consonance with the Supreme Court's landmark verdict in February. This should come as a moment of triumph for the women of the country in general even as the women in armed forces celebrate it.

The male dominated Indian society is slow to change despite numerous judgments and Acts that have tried to empower women of the country. The patriarchal society highly dependent for its survival on male outlook in every sphere of life, always tried to keep women under its control. From imposing the dos and don'ts on the girl child from its childhood, Indian society has not endowed itself with any glory. The glaring disparity in raising the children in every household is shocking to say the least in the country.

Though the Supreme Court had accorded the permanent commission to women members in the combat field and the Centre wholeheartedly welcome the same several doubts remain in the public domain. Will the women be accepted by the men of the forces as their superiors in combat roles? Do they take orders from them unflinchingly? Do they give them the same respect as they do to their male superiors? The questions assume significance more because of the varied backgrounds that the men joining the forces come from.

Those brought up in the hinterlands of the country and those who have grown up in a society where women are treated inferior at every step may not be ready to accept women superiors commanding them, it is feared. Anyway, the order says, "The government issued the formal sanction letter for grant of permanent commission (PC) to women officers in the Indian Army, paving the way for empowering women officers to shoulder larger roles in the organisation. The order specifies grant of PC to Short Service Commissioned (SSC) Women Officers in all ten streams of the Indian Army.

Their Selection Board will be scheduled as soon as all affected SSC women officers exercise their option and complete requisite documentation." On February 17, 2020, the apex court directed the Centre to grant permanent commission to women officers respecting a 2010 order of the Delhi High Court. It also ruled that women officers are eligible to get "command and criteria" appointments in the Indian Army on par with their male counterparts. Moreover, the court stressed that the permanent commission shall be offered to all women officers irrespective of their years of service.

Thereafter, it ordered the Union government to implement the judgment within three months. But the Centre moved the SC seeking six months' time to implement the verdict, citing the Covid-19 pandemic. On July 7, the top court granted the Union government a months' time for implementing its judgment.

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