The Supreme Court on Thursday held that the Army’s “selective” evaluation process discriminates against and disproportionately affects women short service commission officers seeking permanent commission.
“We are of the view that the evaluation criteria set by the Army constituted systemic discrimination against the
petitioners (women officers),” a Bench, led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, observed.
The evaluation pattern of women officers has caused them economic and psychological harm, the court said.
In a series of directions, the court ordered that the cases of women officers who have applied for permanent
commission should be reconsidered in a month and the decision on them should be given in two months.
They would be considered or permanent commission subject to disciplinary and vigilance clearance. The court
said physical standards should be kept at a premium during selection.
The court highlighted how one of the Army’s “administrative requirements” was to benchmark women officers,
under consideration for permanent commission, with male officers who are lowest in merit.
“This is arbitrary and irrational,” Justice Chandrachud, who wrote the 137 page judgment, noted.
The court said the “systemic and indirect discrimination” shown in the Army’s evaluation of women officers for permanent commission seemed neutral on the face, but was founded on a structure of “oppression and domination”.