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The Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya & Ors.

Author: Sagar Singla, a student of Gitarattan International Business School, Delhi.

Case: The Secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya & Ors.

Citation: MANU/SC/0194/2020

Date of Decision: 17/02/2020

Bench: Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ajay Rastogi

Facts of the Case:

  1. Under Section 12 of the Army Act, 1950 that prohibited the recruitment of “women” into the navy except- and to the quantity that- the Central Government allows. For the primary time in 1992, the Central authorities issued a notification permitting women to sign up for sure cadres of the navy like induction in Short Service Commission (hereinafter SSC), Intelligence Corps, Corps of Signals, Regiment of Artillery, Army Service Corps, Education Corps, the Judge Advocate General’s Department, and many others earlier than that the jobs have been confined to medical, dental, and army nursing provider. Women engaged in those offerings are seeking parity with the male officials in acquiring everlasting commissions.
  2. So in February 2003, Advocate Babita Puniya, filed a writ petition with inside the nature of public Interest litigation at Delhi High Court, searching for an everlasting fee for lady officials recruited via SSC with inside the navy, at par with their male counterparts. Many different girls officials (each air and navy officials) one at a time filed a petition for the identical. Their petitions have been tagged with Babita’s petition.
  3. Later, withinside the finishing months of 2005, the Ministry of Defence issued a notification extending the validity of the appointment scheme of the Indian Army for the women officials. In 2006 an additional notification was changed into issued permitting the SCC girls officials to serve for most of 14 years. Major Leena Gaurav once more filed a writ petition on sixteenth October 2006 in the main to undertaking the situations of the provider imposed via way of means of the circulars formerly in that 12 months and additionally searching for for the everlasting fee for the women officials. In 2007 Lt Col Seema Singh for the identical problem moved to the court.
  4. Then in 2008, the center determined to furnish everlasting fees to SSC girls officials in a few departments inclusive of the Army Education Corps, Judge Advocate General, and the corresponding branches withinside the Air Force and Navy. Many extra petitions have been filed tough the round issued in 2006 and 2008.
  5. Finally, in 2010, the Delhi High Court determined to membership all of the petitions and directed the Centre and defense ministry to offer the everlasting fee to SSC girls officials of the Air Force and Army who had opted for it and now no longer but granted. After the order of the Delhi High Court, Army challenged the order withinside the Supreme Court however it very rightly refused to uphold the order and stated to put into effect the orders given via way of means of the Supreme Court. In 2018, the Central Government instructed the Supreme Court that it’s miles thinking about granting everlasting fees to girls recruited via SSC withinside the navy.
  6. In February 2019 the authorities issued pointers that everlasting fee might be granted to the women officials however prospectively and commissioned that most effective the ones girls might be eligible who commissioned after this order is notified preserving the serving officials out of the ambit of the everlasting fee. It granted an everlasting fee to new SSC officials in 8 fight roles.

Issues of the Case:

  1. Whether women ought to be granted Permanent Commission withinside the Indian Army?
  2. Whether the tips issued through the Government of India dated fifteenth February 2019 ought to be implemented?
  3. What are the situations governing the Women Officers withinside the Indian Army?


The Supreme Court bench led with the aid of using Justice D.Y Chandrachud challenged the notions given with the aid of using the Union and said that they may be entrenched in stereotypical assumptions of ascribed gender roles for girls. Moreover, it’s far a clean violation of their essential rights assured below Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. He stated that even though Article 33 of the Indian Constitution did permit for regulations on Fundamental Rights in militia it’s also truly cited that it may be constrained handiest to the volume that it changed into vital to make certain the right discharge of responsibility and renovation of discipline. It changed into determined that coverage selection taken with the aid of using the union permitting the girls officials in PCs thru SSC are a challenge to a few conditions:

  1. All the women officials currently on SSC carrier are eligible to PCs no matter any of them crossed fourteen years of the carrier or, because the case may also be, 20 years of carrier.
  2. The order given with the aid of using the Delhi High Court is affirmed.
  3. All the selections of specialization will be to be had to the women officials on the time of choosing the provider in PCs, at the identical phrases as their male opposite numbers.
  4. There are a few expressions like in numerous group of workers appointments handiest, and on a group of workers appointments handiest withinside the coverage with the aid of using the Government, those need to now no longer be enforced with appreciate to the PC of girls.
  5. All the women officials who’re eligible and granted PCs thru SSC need to be entitled to all consequential perks which include pension, promotion, and economic incentives.
  6. The advantages of persevering with withinside the carrier till the attainment of the pensionable carrier shall additionally follow to all of the SSC girls officials.

Hence the judgment has rightly granted all women officials the proper to be provided Permanent Commissions and Command posts at par with their male opposite numbers in all ten branches wherein they had been inducted on Short Service Commission.

Critical Analysis:

Even after seventy-three years of Independence, the actual query that arises is “whether or not the ladies are furnished with identical rights and possibility in all of the fields? This time the courtroom docket took a stand and supported gender equality in the armed force. Although the ladies have the capability and eligibility, they’re now no longer furnished with the identical possibility because of which they face several issues of their professional growth. This judgment shall continually be remembered as one of the nice judgments which heralded gender equality in defense offerings additionally which incorporates all of the offerings – Army, Navy, and Air Force.

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