This Article is From Mar 12, 2010

Women officers score big victory in court

New Delhi: In a landmark judgement the Delhi high court has directed the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army to grant permanent commissions to all serving women officers. This is after a group of women officers approached the court to seek permanent commission on completion of their fixed tenure of 15 years. 

But while women in the armed forces may now be eligible to rise to the top most ranks in the force they serve in, they are still not allowed to join the combat arms.

Fifty seven officers fought a court battle for 4 years. Finally a land mark verdict. A small step towards equality, a huge victory for women in the forces.

The Delhi High Court on Friday ruled that all women officers in the Army and Air Force should get permanent commission.

The order will benefit hundreds of women currently serving. In September last year, the government did revise the rules to give women the same tenure as men, but this applied only to new recruits and not to women already in service. Also the permanent commissions to new recruits were given in 2 units - JAG and the education corps. So what will this mean?

Women in the Army and Air Force will now get the same benefits as men. They will be compensated retrospectively.

Till now women were forced to retire after 14 years in service, irrespective of their record. Male officers were allowed a full tenure after just five years in service. This will now stop. Women officers will be eligible for pension and other financial benefits, the same as men.

In its order the High Court said, "With the expanding horizon of women participation, the government would be encouraged to have larger participation of women in more areas of operation."

But the battle for same treatment is far from over. Women are still not allowed in combat roles in the forces.