In a massive development, the Supreme Court on Monday pronounced its verdict on setting up of a permanent commission for women in the armed forces. The apex court stated that after the Delhi High Court's 2010 judgment, it was an obligation of the Centre to set up the permanent commission for women in the armed forces in all areas but combat positions, and not doing so is a violation of the court's orders.
The Supreme Court in its order also observed that there was a requirement for a change of mindset when it came to 'gender stereotypes' and setting up of a commission would help women hold the positions of command thereby slowly challenging these stereotypes.
"It is an insult to women as well as the army when aspersions are cast on women, their ability and their achievements in the army," read the SC's order.
The order of the SC comes on the recent plea by the Ministry of Defence in the Delhi High Court. A massive controversy had broken out when the Centre had stated that the women were not 'fit' to give orders since the men will be unwilling to take orders in the subordinate positions. It had stated that most men in the army are brought in from rural areas and such men would not be willing to take orders from women in dominant positions. It also stated that in times of war, women in command would be hard hit when they would be taken as prisoners of war and hence they needed to be kept away from positions of command.
The SC, however, upheld the 2010 Delhi HC judgment to direct that Permanent Commission must be given to all women officers in the Army irrespective of their years of service. The apex court stated that this was necessary to tackle the 'gender discrimination' that took place in the armed forces.
Addressing this, the SC bench headed by Justice Chandrachud observed that Centre's argument note for opposing permanent commission and command appointment to women citing physiological features perpetuates "gender stereotypes".
The SC stated that the Centre was obligated to set up the permanent commission after the order which had come into effect in 2017. It, however, kept the area of combat out of the commission since that was the main point of argument in the court by the Ministry of Defence. It also pronounced a three-month deadline to the Centre for setting up the commission.