The Supreme Court of India in a landmark order has ordered the Government, to allow Indian women officers commanding positions – not combat roles – in the Indian Army. The decision comes weeks after the government in a statement told the Court that men in the Indian Amry won’t accept women commanding a battalion.
“Troops are not yet mentally schooled to accept women officers in command of units” since they are “predominantly drawn from a rural background,” the Goverement had told the court.
The court lashed on the argument saying such thinking is “discriminatory”, “disturbing,” and based on stereotypes.
“Women work shoulder to shoulder with men. The centre’s submission is based on gender discrimination and stereotype. Women Army officers brought laurels to the county,” the Supreme Court said, referring to women officers who it said had done the country proud.
The court also said that the physical limitations of women are no reason to deprive them of the rights the constitution proudly asserts to every citizen of the country.
In a nutshell, the Court order means now a woman colonel can command a battalion, which is the first level of independent command in the Army.
Currently, women officers can serve the Army for 10-14 years in the Short Service Commission. Besides, women officers are also allowed entry into Army Service Corps, Ordnance, Education Corps, Judge Advocate General, Engineers, Signals, Intelligence and Electrical and Mechanical Engineering branches.
The Army deprives women of participating in combat roles like infantry, armoured, mechanised infantry, aviation and artillery.
A report by NDTV states that the Indian Air Force allows women as officers in flying and ground duties. Women IAF Short Service Commission (SSC) officers fly helicopter, transport aircraft and now even fighter jets.
In the navy, women who qualify SSC are allowed in logistics, law, observers, air traffic control, maritime reconnaissance pilots and Naval Armament Inspectorate Cadre.