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SC order on women in Army enabling, provides clarity in moving forward: General Naravane

SC order on women in Army enabling, provides clarity in moving forward: General Naravane

Days after the Supreme Court ruled to bring women on a par with their male counterparts in 10 streams of Army, General M M Naravane Thursday welcomed the apex court order and said they have made a roadmap to implement it.

"We found the Supreme Court judgment on permanent commissioning of women very enabling. The Army has been championing gender equality and the Supreme Court judgment will give us a lot of clarity in moving forward," Naravane said.

On Monday, the top court had called for a "change in mindsets" and set aside longstanding objections of the government while directing women officers of the Army, serving under Short Service Commission, be considered for the grant of Permanent Commission.

"Indian Army does not discriminate any soldier based on religion, caste, creed, or even gender. The outlook of the Indian Army has been throughout like this and that is why we started inducting women officers as early as in 1993," the Army Chief said.

Elaborating on the roadmap undertaken, he said: "Indian Army has taken the initiative to induct women in rank and file, and the first batch of 100 women soldiers is undergoing training at Corps of Military Police Center and School."

The court order further stated that the grant would be irrespective of tenure service, and also for command posts in non-combat areas since "an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not comport with the guarantee of equality under Article 14".

Stating that "the absolute exclusion of women" from all command assignments except staff assignments is "indefensible", the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi had rejected arguments against giving greater role to women officers and said their non-eligibility for command posts will be considered on case-to-case basis. It had added "necessary steps for compliance with this judgment shall be taken within three months".

The momentous Supreme Court ruling had been lauded by several political leaders, including Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi welcoming the judgment.

(Inputs from The Indian Express)

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