Friday, March 31, 2023

Promotion of senior women officers in Indian Army: Supreme Court lists matter after declaration of SSB NDA 2022 results

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday listed the matter related to the promotion of senior women officers in the Indian Army, having seniority between 1992 to 2007, for hearing after January 24, as the results for Services Selection Board (SSB) of the National Defence Academy (NDA) would be out on that day, which would help the Court in delivering its verdict.

The two-Judge Bench of Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha noted that SSB interview results would be declared on January 24. This would help the Apex Court to take stock of the candidates selected by the Board and make a decision.

The Counsels for the petitioners and respondents in the Miscellaneous Application in Writ Petition filed by Senior Women Officers of the Indian Army, having seniority between the years 1992 to 2007, submitted their arguments today. 

The petitioners contended that a miscellaneous application in the aforementioned Writ Petition in 2020, had been registered under Sections 420 & 409 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) before the Apex Court. 

The petitioner submitted that there was a perpetuation of gender bias and discrimination with respect to non-compliance with this Courts’ orders regarding the promotion of senior women officers of the Indian Army. 

Further, three Selection Boards were organised for promoting junior gentleman officers between the years 2020-2022, but none for senior women officers of the Indian Army. 

The petitioners further submitted that without any ‘justifiable and valid’ reason, the respondents were withholding the promotion of aforesaid senior women officers to Colonel Rank (Select Grade). 

This caused even the senior-most woman officer in the Indian Army to be superannuated before attaining the rank and benefits of Brigadier, opposed to the landmark judgments of the Supreme Court in the Babita Puniya Case and the Lt Col Nitisha case, it pointed out.

On Tuesday, the Counsel for the Respondent argued that the women officers had merely enrolled for the courses, but had not been placed yet.

The Court was further apprised of the promotion policy regarding ACR’s, in response to the Counsel for the petitioner.

However, the Counsel for the petitioner submitted that these courses were mandatory to be placed.

The CJI directed the Registrar to list immediately after January 24, so that the Apex Court could observe the results and deliver the verdict. 

(Case title: Nitisha vs Union of India)

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