Home / News / India /  SC directs Centre to not relieve SSC women Navy officers

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an interim order directing Centre to not discharge the short-service commissioned naval women officers from service, till their request for grant of permanent commission is pending before the government.

The top court on 17 March in a major verdict paved the way for granting Permanent Commission to women officers in Indian Navy, saying a level playing field ensures that women have the opportunity to overcome "histories of discrimination".

The apex court had said that all the Short Service Commission (SSC) officers in the education, law and logistics cadres of Navy, who are presently in service, shall be considered for the grant of permanent commissions (PCs) and gave three months’ time to Centre to complete the modalities.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph issued notice to government while hearing the case through video conferencing.

Advocate Santosh Krishnan appearing for petitioners, submitted that the Union of India was required to implement the decision of this court dated 17 March, 2020 for the grant of Permanent Commission within a period of three months, but this exercise has not been initiated (beyond inviting applications) and completed.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing Centre, stated that that an application for extension of time is pending before the court. Time has been sought due to the ongoing pandemic and the lockdown.

Krishnan further argued that “as a result of the impugned order of the Delhi High Court, even those cases where interim orders had been granted by the Armed Forces Tribunal are now being listed for vacating them".

Post hearing the submission, the court observed, “Prima facie, the Union of India having failed to comply with the directions contained in the judgment of this Court dated 17 March 2020 which mandated consideration for the grant of Permanent Commission within three months, it would be unfair to discharge the Short Service Commissioned officers in the meantime, pending consideration."

The court has also stayed the 23 July order of the Delhi High Court dated 23 July 2020 and 13 July order of the Armed Forces Tribunal for vacating the pending cases before them.

The division bench of the apex court shall hear the case next on 20 August.

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