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72 women officers send legal notice to defence ministry for permanent commission

 
ARMY

New Delhi: Seventy-two women officers from the Indian Army have issued a legal notice to the defence ministry over strict compliance with the Supreme Court order on granting permanent commission to females in the force.

"The notice has been sent on behalf of 72 women officers who are fully entitled to be granted permanent commission on the basis of a clear and unambiguous order of the Supreme Court on 25 March this year," counsel of the women officers Major Sudhanshu Pandey told ANI.

He said the order was clearly asking the defence ministry and authorities concerned not to compare the women officers with the benchmark of male officers of their batch and grant permanent commission to all women officers found unfit by the Number 5 Selection Board held in September last year who had obtained 60 per cent marks for which the defence ministry was given two months to implement the same, he said.

As per the petitioners, the Army Authorities after the expiry of three months moved an application seeking clarification on the ground that the Board has found these 72 officers unfit even though they are above 60 per cent for other reasons of negative remarks etc which are not a disqualification for permanent commission and this aspect has never been brought to the notice of SC by the Army in their reply or submissions which took place in multiple hearings.

Pandey said the clarification has been dismissed on August 2 for being devoid of any merit and now these officers are being kept under suspended animation causing severe mental stress to them.

The lawyer alleged that the subordinate officials out of their deep-rooted prejudice against women officers are trying to mislead the higher authorities to approve denial of permanent commission to these officers which are clear defiance of the order of the Apex Court.

"We wanted to apprise the decision-makers of the repercussions of such defiant order inviting contempt and therefore the notice has been sent to all officials including the Defence Secretary and Chief of Defence Staff.

"We hope and pray that the better sense prevails to these authorities and they don't adopt an attitude of confrontation with court orders," Pandey said.

The women officers of the Army claimed that as per the apex court's directions, all women officers who have fulfilled the cut-off grade of 60 per cent in the Special No 5 Selection Board held in September 2020 and those who fulfil the medical criteria as prescribed by the General Instructions dated 1 August 2020 on 5/10th year of service as the case may be and those who are not under any disciplinary and vigilance Ban which implies that the Women Officers should be granted a commission.—PTI