In a landmark judgment, India’s Supreme Court has ruled that women army officers have a right to command posts.
Dismissing arguments made by the central government against giving women command appointments in the army on grounds of their ‘physiological limitations’ and domestic responsibilities, the Supreme Court ruled that the exclusion of women is illegal.
The landmark judgment is a victory for gender equality guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution. “Implicit in the guarantee of equality is that where the action of the State does not differentiate between two classes of persons, it does not differentiate them in an unreasonable or irrational manner,” noted the judgment by a two-judge bench of Justices Dhananjay Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the central government against a 2010 Delhi High Court decision that held that short service commissioned women officers are entitled to permanent commissions at par with men.
Appealing against that decision, the central government told the Supreme Court about the possible unwillingness of male troops, drawn from predominantly rural backgrounds, to accept a woman in command of their units.