New Delhi: Women officers made history by leading the military contingent in the Republic Day parade this year, but many of them are still not allowed on board warships.
But that could soon change.
The Delhi High Court said today that women can now have full term service in the Indian Navy and enjoy retirement benefits. Allowing women to get permanent commission in the navy, the court said it would "frown upon any endeavor to block progress of women."
The navy may have to review its rules banning women on ships. Women officers serve in the administrative, medical and education branches. They are also taken on aircraft as "observers", to monitor censors.
"Since women aren't allowed on ships, under the existing rules it will be difficult to promote them to the rank of Captain - tenure in the sea is a must for that. We will have a relook at these rules," a senior naval officer told NDTV.
In 2010, women in the army and the Air Force were allowed permanent commission by the high court, which commented that women officers "deserve better from the government."
In the navy, however, women officers were still entitled only to short service commissions for a maximum of 14 years.
Some 19 women naval officers petitioned the court asking for similar rights as their counterparts in the other forces. In their petition, they alleged gender discrimination.
Due to their limited service span, women officers are not eligible for pension, which requires a minimum 20 years of service.