Navy breaks gender barrier, grants permanent commission to 7 women officers
New Delhi: In a big move towards the empowerment of women and gender equality in the armed forces, the Indian Navy today granted permanent commission to seven women officers of the Short Service Commission batch of 2008-09.
Navy is the last of the three wings of the armed forces in the country to allow permanent commission for women.
While the Army and Air Force allow permanent commission for them, the Navy had limited women officers only to short service commission of 14 years.
“Recognising the importance of providing equal opportunities to women officers, seven women officers from the batch of Short Service Commission officers of the Education branch and Naval Constructor cadre, who joined in 2008-09, have been granted permanent commission,” a statement issued by the Navy said.
It added that the Navy is also finalising a policy for women officers to serve on select warships that have appropriate facilities for women.
Defence sources said the women officers will have to meet four main conditions for permanent commission including being medically fit and having a good annual confidential report, besides the vacancy available for the post.
The women officers will have to also opt for permanent commission as this will not be an automatic route.
Based on a government order in 2008, the Navy had decided to grant such commission only to women who joined after that year and that too only in the education, law and naval architecture branches.
A separate case is on in the Supreme Court, filed by a group of women who had retired after their Short Service Commission ended in 2006.
The navy had in October filed a Special Leave Petition in the apex court challenging an order of the Delhi High court asking it to grant permanent commission to 17 women officers.
Meanwhile, the navy has written to three retired women naval officers asking them to come for a medical check-up for reinstatement.
The other officers are awaiting further hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court.
The Navy in the statement said additional avenues for employment of women officers have also been opened up.
Starting in 2017, women officers can choose to join as pilots of maritime reconnaissance planes as also in the Naval Armament Inspectorate cadre.
Thus, a total of eight branches or cadres will be opened for women officers in the Navy.
A crew of six naval women officers including the skipper, is meticulously preparing for the first, all-women, circumnavigation of the world in 2017 by an Indian team, in an indigenously-built ocean sailing vessel, Mhadei II.
(With inputs from PTI)