Saturday 5 September 2015

Permanent Commission for Women in Navy

Why in news?

  • The Delhi HC has allowed women to be granted permanent commission in the Navy, ensuring that women naval officers enjoyed rights similar to their counterparts in the Army and the Air Force. 
  • Women can now have full-term service in the Navy and enjoy retirement benefits, including pension. (due to their limited service span, women officers are not eligible for pension, which requires a minimum 20 years of service)

  • No sexist bias could be allowed to block women’s progress.
  • Women are here to stay and since they worked shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts, the court would frown upon any endeavour to restrain the progress of women.
What is Permanent Commission?Means a career in the defense forces till one retires - also entitles 20 years of service and a pension.

Background of the issue:
  • Bunch of writ petitions moved by a group of women naval officers. 
    • Some 19 women naval officers petitioned the court asking for similar rights as their counterparts in the other forces - they alleged gender discrimination.
    • The 19 women who filed petitions before the court argued that they had received the same training as their male counterparts and worked for a comparable number of years in different departments, but could go no further for the only reason that they were women
  • The issue of grant of Permanent Commission to women officers has been under the active consideration of the Government.
  • In 2010, women in the army and the Air Force were allowed permanent commission by the high court, which commented that women officers deserve better from the government.
  • In the navy, however, women officers were still entitled only to short service commissions for a maximum of 14 years. Since women aren’t allowed on ships, under the existing rules it will be difficult to promote them to the rank of Captain – tenure in the sea is a must for that.
Extra info: India’s first woman in the Army to receive a gallantry award, Lt. Col. Mitali Madhumita, had to move the Supreme Court for permanent commission after she was denied it on the ground that she had earlier turned it down. Suicide rates among women in the forces have also been disproportionately high, and they do not seem to be getting enough support in coping with the dual tasks of handling work and family life.


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