Saturday, March 5, 2011

‘Don’t Discharge Women Who’ve Put In 14 Years Till Permanent Commission Is Decided’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday restrained the army from discharging women officers, who have completed 14 years of service, pending a decision on grant of permanent commission to them.
The army had appealed against a Delhi high court judgment directing grant of permanent commission to women officers, who till date are taken on Short Service Commission and asked to go after rendering 14 years of service.
The SC had last year stayed initiation of contempt proceedings against the army on account of nonimplementation of the high court orders when the government promised that it will dispassionately examine the issue of grant of permanent commission to women officers. Having obtained immunity from contempt proceedings, the army continued to discharge women officers who completed 14 years in service even as a high-powered committee headed by Lt General Chitendra Singh is examining the issue.
The government had on January 11 sought six weeks to revert back to the court. On Friday, two officers — Major Vanita Dhaka and Anjali Bisht —through counsel Meenakshi Lekhi pointed out to a bench comprising Justices J M Panchal and H L Gokhale that taking cover under the stay on contempt proceedings, the army was discharging women offiers without taking a decision on the permanent commission. The bench stayed the discharge of the officers and their batchmates.
Both Dhaka and Bisht joined the army as Short Service Commissioned officers on March 8, 1997, initially for a period of five years. On the basis of their performance, it was extended by five more years and further by four years. They were due to be discharged on March 7, 2011, the day when they would have completed 14 years in service.

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