Rejection Of Permanent Commission Needs To Be Challenged In Armed Forces Tribunal: Centre To SC


Rejection Of Permanent Commission Needs To Be Challenged In Armed Forces Tribunal: Centre To SC

WHY PERMANENT COMMISSION IN NEWS AGAIN?

• A series of Writ Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court by the officers serving in the Indian Navy.

• These petitions were filed to challenge the provision of granting PC to Naval officers, especially women.

• These petitions are followed by the landmark judgement of 2020 granting PC to women in the Indian Army i.e The Secretary, Ministry of Defence vs Babita Puniya and others which upheld the rights of women in the Army.

• Another case relating to the same was dealt by the SC which was Union of India vs Lt Cdr Annie Nagaraja and others that held women officers to be entitled to permanent commission in the Navy at par with their male counterparts.

• In the above mentioned case, a writ petition was filed submitting that even after completion of 14 years of service in the Navy by the petitioners, they were not granted PC instead they were being discharged from the service.

WHY THIS PETITION NOW?

• Women were not commissioned in the Navy till the order was passed to do so in 1991 whereby for the first time, the power under the enabling provision under Section 9(2) of the Navy Act, was exercised to lay down that women would also we eligible for appointment as officers in the Indian Navy.

• This order allowed entry of women into only four branches of the Navy which were Logistics, Law, ATC and Education. The Ministry promised to lay down guidelines for PC in 1997 but failed to do so and, further, guidelines were issued in 2008. But this offer was restricted to certain categories and was also to operate prospectively. As per this policy, only women officers inducted after January 2009 were eligible for PC, that too only in the branches of education, law and naval architecture. The cadres of logistics and ATC, which were opened to women for SSC in 1991, were excluded.

• The petition here challenged by the officers was primarily on two reasons; firstly, the same being prospective giving no benefit to those who had already completed 14 years of service and secondly, the exclusion of their cadres from PC even after 1991 notification was published.

UOI ’S ARGUMENTS

• The advocate appearing argued that these officers in the petition had not made it on the merit and that the court had opined that the 2008 policy does not apply prospectively and only the 1991 notification had to be considered.

• For these reasons, it was argued that the petition cannot be challenged under Article 32 and that the petitioners had to move to the Armed Forces Tribunal to consider the facts and records.

• It was also mentioned that the petitioners only wanted to be considered at par with the male officers which was already done by the judgement mentioned above.

COURT'S ORDERS

The Court ordered to hear the writ petitions on 19.1.2021 and stayed the operation of discharging the petitioners from duty.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PETITION FILED? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ARGUMENTS BY UNION OF INDIA? Let us know you views in the comments section below!

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