By Suchitra Kalyan MohantyNew Delhi [India], January 23 (ANI): Many women Army officers have approached the Supreme Court alleging that its order directing the Central government to grant Permanent Commission (PC) to women officers in the Army's non-combat support units on par with their male counterparts was not properly implemented.
One such petition was filed by a woman officer, through her lawyer, Chitrangda Rastravara and Advocate on Record (AOR) Archana Pathak Dave, before the Supreme Court seeking its immediate direction to implement the February 2020 order.
The petition copy, read and exclusively accessed by ANI, filed before the Apex Court by the woman Army officer, revealed that till date, as far as the procedural aspects of implementation are concerned, there are certain ambiguities, which have not been addressed by the Army.
Rastravara, while talking to ANI, said that the Apex Court had clearly in its verdict in February 2020, had directed the Central government to give all benefits to all women officers, including PC, including promotion and all consequential benefits, irrespective of the number of years of service they might have put in.
"Despite the ruling of the Top Court, the implementation of the judgment is done only for good optics, and to eliminate the women officers from the Army rather than including them in the institution as per the intent of the directions given by the Supreme Court," she told ANI.
"This case is about women Army officers being denied their rightful due of PC, which in spite of a prolonged legal battle of more than a decade is still not a reality today, due to the absence of a clear-cut policy about the procedure adopted to assess women officers and application of arbitrary parameters by the army without any basis, she added.
Rastravara alleged that women officers in the Army are still fighting gender stereotypes before the Supreme Court. She also sought the Apex Court's intervention to direct enforcement of its own order in letter and spirit, by the respondent, Army, after one year of the judgement was pronounced.
"The unknown/unnotified and arbitrary benchmark of scoring above the lowest graded gentlemen officer of the parallel batch is one of the parameters that has never been applied in the usual case for gentlemen officers and thus is affecting the morale of these highly meritorious women officers," she said.
"The Army, however, claimed that out of 615 women officers, 422 are eligible and found fit for PC in the Army. But in reality, only 277 out of 422 have been granted PC and the remaining number i.e. 145 are those officers who are either non-optees or whose result is withheld due to medical and administrative reasons. 193 officers have been denied PC," she added.
According to Rastravara's petition, the figure of 422 is a figure only for "good optics" and does not "truly portray the actual number".
"Thus, finding those officers who are non-optees fit for PC and denying the same to optees smacks of gross arbitrariness," read the petition.
These petitions are likely to come up for hearing before the Supreme Court on January 27. (ANI)