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Retrospectively to Permanent Commission to Women Short Service Commission Officers: Indian Navy Challenges the Move Before SC

The Indian Navy approached the hon’ble apex court challenging the order issued by the High Court of Delhi to form permanent commission to women short service commission (SSC) officers with retrospective operation without considering the order of Navy issued in 2008 to provide permanent commission to women SSC officers belonging to precise categories with prospective operation. Both the army and air force had also settled to provide permanent commission to women short service commission officers. It was submitted before the Court that the decision of the High Court that provides retrospectively to the policy decision taken by navy on 26th September,, 2008 and providing extension to such policy will negativate the administrative structure and the operational urgency in the Navy. The decision will also affect the seniority of the present members and the promotion chances. Further, it will impose more financial burden and other difficulties to the Government.

The appeal also states that the result of the order will be providing the woman officers with something which is barred by law.  As provided under Section 9 of the Navy Act 1957, Woman shall be ineligible to be appointed or enrolled in Indian Navy or the Indian Naval Reserve Force. But they may be appointed in some of the departments, bodies or branches with the conditions provided by the Government. In 1991, the Central Government had stated that woman shall be appointed in the sections dealing with logistics, education and law in the Indian Navy. In 2008,the Government provided for a permanent commission in the sections of education, navy constructor and law. Without considering such policy decisions, the High Court had given retrospective application to the commission and also extended the benefits to ATC nad logistic without proper reasons.

The Navy also specified that appeals from the previous judgment of the High Court that ordered the Government to provide permanent commission to women SSC officers in Indian Army and IAF are pending before the Supreme Court.

Adv. Jewel Panicker