To Get Permanent Commission In The Army, 45 YO Women Officers Have To Be As Medically Fit As 25 YO Male Officers
No matter how much women prove their mettle in every field, our society is hellbent on shoving them into stereotypical boxes. They’re shunned into kitchens and forced to dedicate their lives to household work and raising children. And the ones who are in the workforce often struggle to break through glass ceilings. They aren’t promoted or given equal opportunities only because of their gender. And don’t even get me started on the pay disparity between men and women. Even the Indian army has been discriminating between men and women. For so long now, women army officers have been fighting for permanent commission. Finally, after a long and convoluted battle, in a landmark ruling last year, the Supreme Court granted women army officers permanent commission. But that wasn’t enough. The battle is still ongoing. And now, the Supreme Court has pulled up the army for denying permanent commission to women officers by requiring them to have the same medical standards at 45 as their younger male counterparts. As nonsensical as the army’s requirements are, at least the court is in our corner!
Last year, in a landmark, ruling the Supreme Court had directed the army to grant permanent commission to the women serving under short service commission (SSC), regardless of their tenure. It also asked the army to grant command posts in non-combat areas since “an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not comport with the guarantee of equality under Article 14”. But this ruling was not enough since the army has some very bizarre requirements from these women.
Basically, the army requires its women officers serving under SSC to have the same medical standards at 45 as their male counterparts do at 25. This mandate is proving to be an unnecessary complication. Referring to a petition filed by 60 women officers, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said “You cannot mandate perverse equality by asking women officers at the age of 45 years to fulfil conditions that applied to male officers at the age of 25 years.”
‘Can’t mandate perverse equality’: SC on plea over commission for women https://t.co/AfaxCQWoJl
— Hindustan Times (@HindustanTimes) March 4, 2021
Also Read: A Battle Physical Efficiency Test In The Army Will Now Mean That Women Officers Can Move Up The Rank
We completely agree with the court’s ruling. It’s absolutely absurd that the army expects this out of their women officers. It’s not possible, not for army officers or anyone else. After this ruling, the Army tested close to 615 women SSC officers entitled to permanent commission. They tested them on five categories: psychiatry, height, appendage (bone structure), physical and eye and ear.
The Permanent Commission Criteria For Women Officers
The petitioners told the court that the Selection Board of the army has turned into a “rejection board” as only 277 out of 615 women Army officers made it to the final list. It’s almost as if the army is doing everything in its power to keep women from getting permanent commission. Talking about this, the bench said, “For service performance, you (Army) say we will look at your performance between 5th to 10th year but for medical criteria, you will require to be as medically fit as a male officer when he was appointed.”
Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, who appeared for the petitioners said that women were eliminated based on heir poor annual confidential reports (ACR). This is a kind of annual performance report that assess an officer’s conduct and performance. To be granted permanent commission in the army, this report is assessed between the 5th to 10th year of service. However, the army wants the women who have already served for 5-10 years should have the same medical standards as their male counterparts when he was enlisted.
We are glad the Supreme Court is questioning the army’s bizarre requirements and we agree with everything it said. The question here, though, is that why is the army making it so difficult for women officers to get permanent commission?