Government Allows Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Army

A formal letter from the Government has been sent by the Ministry of Defence for allowing permanent commission for women officers who are working in the Indian Army. Beginning of this month, the Supreme Court had given one month to abide by the court’s command on issuing commission permanently to all SSC women officers in the Indian Army. Women officers receiving Permanent commission (PC) has become reality finally.

The Indian Army has announced that the move will open a way for empowering and strengthening women officers to bear larger roles in the forces as the order of issuing the Permanent Commission from the Honourable Supreme Court applies to SSC Women Officers in all major functions of the Indian Army as listed below.

  1. Signals
  2. Army Air Defence (AAD)
  3. Engineers
  4. Army Ordnance Corps (AOC)
  5. Army Educational Corps (AEC)
  6. Intelligence Corps
  7. Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME)
  8. JAG – Judge and Advocate General
  9. Army Aviation
  10. Army Service Corps (ASC)

Directive of the Supreme Court

Beginning of this year the Supreme Court had announced Permanent Commission for Women Officers and ordered the opening of various roles to women officers in the Indian Army. This order is a milestone judgment as it will now allow women officers to bear larger roles in the Indian Army. The order by the Supreme Court will now force the Indian Army to bring in changes in some of the most crucial processes like physical endurance, training, postings, service programs so as to establish equality and have balanced conditions in the services for duties performed by male and female officers.

 Service Selection Board Soon

The Army has stated that a selection schedule will be organized by the service selection board at the earliest to complete the required documentation process for all the affected Short Service Commission Women Officers in order to implement their desired option.

Permanent Commission Vs Short Service Commission

One of the major differences in the Permanent Commission and Short Service Commission is that a Permanent Commission Officer can serve the forces till the time he/she retires. On the other hand, the SSC Officers can only serve for 10 years, which is extendable for up to 14 years.  While male officers can presently opt for taking up Permanent Commission after the 14 years, women officers are currently not allowed to do so. The landmark judgment by the Honourable Supreme Court will help women officers extend their services to the Indian Army beyond a period of 14 years. Another important difference is that since the SSC officers go out of service without completing 20 years in service, they are not eligible for a pension. This is under the assumption that as the officer moves out of the service with about 10-14 years in the Army, they would be able to find a livelihood outside of the Armed Forces. It is an accepted norm in the Industry for male officers who find ample opportunities after leaving the Armed Forces but, a challenge for Women Officers as they find it difficult to get gainfully employed after their exit from the defence forces.

Women in the Army

The Indian Army has 3.89 percent of women until now, Navy has 6.7 percent and Air Force has 13.28 percent which excludes the Military Nursing Service, Medical Corps, and Dental Corps. SSC has allowed the entry of women in the army until now but they could not serve the nation beyond 14 years, however, some women officers received an extension to work in the army but they did not have the opportunity to receive a Permanent Commission (PC).

More than 300 women officers in the Indian army received extensions to work beyond 14 years but there were also many deserving women officers from various backgrounds who were denied roles citing multiple reasons ranging from motherhood, childcare, physiology, endurance limitations, etc. The Supreme Court has refused to accept such reasons as reasonable reasons for not allowing women into Permanent Commission.

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