New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday looked for the Centre’s response to 34 Army women officers’ plea, seeking promotions to higher ranks.
The 34 Army women officers have said that even after clear directions from the Supreme Court in the historic Babita Punia case in February 2020, the promotions of women officers to higher ranks have still not been implemented.
Issuing notice on the plea, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud sought the Centre and others’ response to the application. The plea was filed by 34 applicants, including Col.(TS). Priyamvada A Mardikar and Col (TS) Asha kale are permanent commissioned women officers, having seniority from 1992 to 2007. The plea was filed through advocate Rakesh Kumar.
As per the application, vide letter dated 23.11.2021, the respondents announced that as an exception and one-time measure, a Special No. 3 Selection Board will be conducted for women officers, to promote them to the Colonel Rank (Select Grade).
The application further said that accordingly, all non-JC (Junior Command) Course qualified women officers till Batch 2004 were detailed for Middle-Level Tactical Orientation Course (MLTOC), instead of the mandatory Junior Command Course and after doing MLTOC, the women officers became fully eligible to be considered by a Special No. 3 Selection Board for being promoted to the Colonel Rank (Select Grade) and thus, the respondents had no justifiable reason to delay conducting Selection Board No. 3 for the aforesaid senior women officers.
“However, the respondents have not been conducting the Special No. 3 Selection Board and thereby the respondents, without any justification or valid reason, have been causing inordinate delay in promoting these women officers, despite the clear cut direction of this Court. Historical and Landmark Judgments dated 17.02.2020 and 25.03.2021, passed in Babita Puniya Case and Lt. Col. Nitisha & Ors Vs.
The petition states that the Union of India and others, respectively, say the women officers, who will be granted a permanent commission, will be entitled to all consequential benefits including promotion and financial benefits. The applicant stated that it is unwarranted, non-sustainable, illegal, unjustified, arbitrary and a matter of great disrespect and humiliation to the senior women officers that the respondents while stalling the promotion of senior women officers, have promoted junior gentlemen officers to the rank of Colonel promoted.
In the petition, the applicant sought a direction to the respondents to hold a selection board for eligible women officers following pro-rata vacancies equal to their male counterparts, forthwith in terms of a letter dated 23.11.2021. As proposed by Selection Board No. 3 for the promotion of junior gentleman officers by letter dated 12.09.2022. “Further, the existing vacancies specified in a letter dated 23.09.2022 for promoting junior gentleman officers, be given to the senior women officers, and the respondents be restrained from declassification of a result of the Selection Board No.3. proposed to be conducted vide letter dated 12.09.2022, for promotion of junior gentleman officers to Colonel rank (Select Grade), till disposal of the present application,” the plea stated.
The petition also seeks a direction to the respondents to conduct Selection Board No. 2 for those women officers who are to be promoted to the rank of Colonel and whose male counterparts are to be selected by Selection Board No. 2 for promotion to the rank of Brigadier. has already been considered. The petition sought a direction to the respondents to grant financial benefit along with penal interest at the rate of 12% per annum to women officers who are to be promoted to the rank of Colonel and Brigadier on the day their male counterparts are promoted to Colonel. Was found and brigadier rank.
The plea seeks directions to the respondents to “provide study leave and/or deputation to willing women officers by relaxing the terms and conditions in respect of residual service”.