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  • Shreeparna Goswami

Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Armed Forces

Introduction:-


Women are the strongest creatures than any other creatures of nature. Since the beginning of civilization, powerful women sages like Gargi, Maitrayee, Lopamudra, Rani Laxmi Bai, Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, Nirja Bhanot, Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi are the perfect example of women empowerment. Women in defence have a great prolonged record, across several cultures in India. Throughout history, women have influenced various warrior roles.

Recently, in February 2020, the Supreme Court of India, in a landmark judgment held that women officers are allowed to a permanent commission in the Armed Forces of India.


Historical Background of Women's Position in Armed Forces:-


Since 1943, women selflessly serve their motherland. In 1943, women regimen name ‘Rani of Jhansi’ regiment was formed under Azad Hind Fauj also known as the Indian National Army under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose.


In 1888, during the British Raj period, the women were entitled to enroll in the Indian army under the Indian Military Nursing Service. In 1991, the Indian Navy allowed women in the department of education, logistics, and law Cadets of the Executive branch.


In 1992, the Indian Army allowed the women in the services of Army Service Corps, Army Education Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Judge Advocate General branch.


In 1993, the Indian Navy allowed women in the services of Air Traffic Controller.


In 1994, the Indian Air Force allowed the women in the services of transport and helicopter aviators.

In 1996, Women were permitted to join the Army as Engineers, Signals, Intelligence, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering.


In 2001, women entitled to join the Naval Constructor Cadre of Engineering Branch under the Indian navy.


In 2008, women in the Indian army were allowed to become Permanent Commission in the Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate General Department and Indian navy also entitled women to become an observer in the Indian navy.


In 2015, the Air Force allowed women to become Fighter pilots in Indian Air Force.

What is Permanent Commission?


A Permanent Commission is also known as PC, is a career in the field of the Indian armed forces until their retirement.[1] If one person appointed through the Permanent Commission, he or she has the choice to perform for the country till the full age of retirement.

Permanent Commission for Women's in Armed Forces:-


In February 2020, the Supreme Court of India provided great advice to the Government of India that Woman Army Officers should be permitted Permanent Commission and Command postings in all armed force services. The government of India stated that women officers who served in Short Service Commission under the Indian Armed Force are now entitled to join the Permanent Commissioner.


As per the report of 2020, 1,653 women officers were performing in the Army out of a total of 43,000 officers.[2] Apart from the Judge Advocate General’s branch and Army Education Corps where Permanent Commission was already provided, now women officers are permanent commissioned officers in Signals, Engineers, Military Intelligence, Army Air Defence, Army Service Corps, Army Aviation Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, and Electronics and Mechanical Engineering Crops.


Supreme Court Verdict on Women's Permanent Commission:-


On February 17, 2020, the guardian of the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court approved a verdict that is women will enable to perform as army commanders.[3]


The apex court also broadened permanent service. Now, not only men but also women armed forces officers applied for permanent commission. Women are now enabled to command whole defence units.


Approximately, 322 women officers in Indian Armed Forces had reached the Supreme Court of India on the issue of the Permanent Commission.[4] The apex court authorized the government to assure that women officers, regardless of their years of service, are permitted to Permanent Commission in the Indian Armed Forces.


After the grant of the Permanent Commission, the topic of command postings came up in the conversation in a subsequent way. In the appeal of command postings, the government mentioned “physical” and “physiological limitations” in permitting command positions to women offers.[5] On this matter, the Supreme Court of India stated that there was a necessity for an administrative will and improved mindset in this concern.


The apex court, therefore, amplified that the woman officers in the Indian Armed Forces would be capable of command posting.


The Supreme Court bench discovered that there could not be the ultimate exclusion of women officers in Indian armed forces for command duties and that they should be assessed on an individual purpose.


Government Order on the Women's Permanent Commission:-


The government of India's order indicates the grant of Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission for women officers in all streams of Indian Armed Forces. The same protocol for male Short Service Commission officers will be fulfilled for women to get Permanent Commission in the Indian armed forces.

Importance of Permanent Commission for Women:-


Women in battle have a great history of their own. Reported history presents several representations of women in combat positions. Common women in combat roles and queens governing from the veneer that comprises summaries of Rani Durgavati, Tarabai, Bibi Dalai Kaur, Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, and countlessly many brave women. There is a myth that the armed forces are frequently seen as the oasis of men and women are not entitled to choose a career in the armed forces. But many women proved the statement is wrong. In 2019, Minty Agarwal was a part of the squad that governed Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman during the Balakot airstrike accomplished by the Indian Air Force.[6] It is often believed in Indian society that women are the Shakti. They motivate participation and share strength and knowledge as they have discovered since their childhood. It comes normally to them to improve the self-worth of their companions and bring the best out of them. The Indian armed forces are freeing the doors to women for choosing a career in the armed forces.


Before the verdict of the Supreme Court of India, the central government of India disagreed with women being permitted in command positions in the Indian armed forces by bringing on age-old sex stereotypes about the bodily restrictions of women. It also brought the incredulous statement that women should not be assigned to top positions such as colonels or brigadiers because most men soldiers from rural locations are not mentally disciplined to obey women officers in command.

The decision of the Supreme Court of India is admirable and respectful. Limited and insouciant acknowledgement from the Indian armed forces will only add to the agonies of the women officers who have stayed long adequate to get their true position.


Conclusion:-


In today's modern era, gender discrimination is an issue. The armed force has been especially a masculine organization, where boys become men. Now, the question ensues, why this same rule does not imply to women. Women’s battle to join the armed forces is not a new one, from birth, women's battle starts against society. Armed Forces are one of the important parts of India. So it is necessary to take a position in the armed force for women so, women can prove they do anything that a man can do.


References

[1]UPSC Current Affairs | Monthly Hindu Review | Top 50 Current Affairs Download PDF, https://www.iasparliament.com/current-affairs/permanent-commission-to-women-officers-in-army. [2]Granting permanent commission to women officers an operational challenge for Army | India News - Times of India, https://m.timesofindia.com/india/granting-permanent-commission-to-women-officers-an-operational-challenge-for-army/amp_articleshow/74182860.cms. [3]‘It has hit my dignity’: women fight for equal treatment from Indian army | Global development | The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/dec/31/it-has-hit-my-dignity-women-fight-for-equal-treatment-from-indian-army. [4]Women officers can now get permanent commission in the Indian Army - The Hindu, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/women-officers-can-now-get-permanent-commission-in-indian-army/article32171210.ece. [5]Govt should change mindset to allow women command Army posts: SC - The Economic Times, https://m.economictimes.com/news/defence/govt-should-change-mindset-to-allow-women-command-army-posts-sc/articleshow/73976728.cms. [6]IAF officer Minty Agarwal who provided Abhinandan Varthaman air support during 27 Feb dogfight becomes first woman to get Yudh Seva medal - India News, Firstpost, https://www.firstpost.com/india/iaf-officer-minty-agarwal-who-provided-abhinandan-varthaman-air-support-during-27-feb-dogfight-becomes-first-woman-to-get-yudh-seva-medal-7170031.html.

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