Show rule that makes women ineligible for army: Apex court (Lead)

July 26th, 2010 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday asked the defence ministry to produce an army notification that makes women ineligible for permanent commission in the regular army.
The court direction came during the hearing on an appeal filed by the army against a verdict of the Delhi High Court by which it was directed to extend permanent commission to women officer in the regular army.

The Indian Air Force has already granted permanent commission to women.

The ministry took the stand that a notification issued in pursuance of Section 12 of the Army Act, 1950 excluded women from getting permanent commission in the regular army.

On the face of it, the notification appeared to be in breach of constitutional provisions guaranteeing equality before law but it was not so, the ministry told the court.

Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi told the bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra that Section 12 of the Army Act was protected by Article 33 of the constitution that permitted certain restriction on employment in defence services.

Article 33 of the constitution empowers parliament to modify the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens.

On Tripathi’s submission, Justice Mishra said these objections should have been raised at the threshold challenging the maintainability of the petition before the high court.

Rekha Palli appearing for the respondent Babita Puniya said there was not even a whisper of these objections before the high court.

Referring to certain communication where the army is considering giving another promotion to women officers, Justice Mishra said that on one hand you are considering giving them one more promotion and on the other hand you are opposing giving them permanent commission.

The ASG said the proposed promotion is related to women officers of short service commission.

The ASG said that this was “a question that deals with the functioning and discipline of Indian Army”.

He said that the air force and the army stood on different footing and could not be compared.

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