Supreme Court statement, Structures of our society created by males & for males
The Supreme Court’s decision is a milestone in the nation’s larger quest for gender equality. Women’s inclusion in the Army isn’t about tokenism
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the pleas of women Short Service Commission officers to be fairly evaluated for permanent commission and quashed application of fitness standards of a 35-year-old male officer to women now in the 45-50 age group. The bench noted that the structure of our society is created by males for males where talk of equality is a farce.
The women officers had first moved to the Delhi high court in 2003 seeking a permanent commission, which was allowed by the court in non-combat units in 2010. On February 17, 2020, the SC upheld the verdict and asked the Army to grant PC to women SSC officers. However, 86 women officers were back in the SC alleging arbitrary rejection by retrospective application of standards.
In a heart-warming, 137-page judgment studded with analysis of various kinds of discrimination faced by women, a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said, "The evaluation criteria set by the Army constituted systemic discrimination against the petitioners.
The pattern of evaluation deployed by the Army to implement the decision in Babita Puniya (February 17, 2020) disproportionately affects women. Authoring the judgment, Justice Chandrachud said, “This disproportionate impact is attributable to the structural discrimination against women, by dint of which the facially neutral criteria of selective ACR evaluation and fulfilling the medical criteria to be in Shape-1 at a belated stage to secure PC disproportionately impacts them vis-a-vis their male counterparts.
The Supreme Court’s decision is a milestone in the nation’s larger quest for gender equality. Women’s inclusion in the Army isn’t about tokenism; it is something that needs to be carried out in letter and spirit. The judgment must be celebrated by every progressive Indian.
The pattern of evaluation, by excluding subsequent achievements of the petitioners, and failing to account for the inherent patterns of discrimination that were produced as a consequence of casual grading and skewed incentive structures, has resulted in indirect and systemic discrimination. This discrimination has caused economic and psychological harm and an affront to their dignity.”