The highest court while upholding the Delhi High Court’s order has said that there can be no injustice and discrimination as the women can sail with the same efficiency as male officers.
The women serving women officers in the Indian Navy will now be allowed permanent commission in all eligible branches of the service. The Supreme Court has given three months to the Centre to comply with its order. According to the court’s order, the women officers are now eligible for permanent commission in ATC & Logistics too, apart from Education and there can be no discrimination based on physiological conditions, etc.
Also, discrimination based on cannot be allowed with woman officers in Navy after they were allowed entry in the force through policy decision in 1991 and 1998 by the Centre.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud has observed that equality has to be a hallmark of armed forces and women can’t be deprived of permanent commission in Navy.
Last month the apex court had asked the Centre to allow permanent commission in the Indian Army irrespective of their years of service. Also, the women are given permanent commission in the Indian Army’s non-combat support units in case the women officers wish to continue with it on completing their short-service commission.
Position on the ground
Welcoming the Supreme Court order allowing permanent commission for women in the Navy, the Indian Navy rues the fact that there is a lack of infrastructure. The Indian Navy has always welcomed women on board and all avenues have always been open for them.
However, “Indian Navy has had to improvise its training programmes due to the lack of Cadet Training Ships” explained a senior naval officer who wished to remain anonymous.
“The shipyards which were given the order to build the Cadet Training Ships have had to shut shop and now the Indian Navy is turning bigger boats as the training vessels for cadets,” he added.
In 2017 Navika Sagar Parikrama team — six-member crew first all-woman military team had sailed off with skipper Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, 28 to circumnavigate the globe. Onboard INSV Tarini there were Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.
These women had undergone intense three-year training before setting out and becoming the first-ever all-women military team in Asia to successfully circumnavigate the globe and had covered more than 21,600 nautical miles.