New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea by women army officers who completed their 14 years of service after the applicable cut-off date for applying for permanent commission. The court gave its approval to the permanent commission of women officers in the army, after which a petition was filed by those women officers who had completed 14 years of service for extension after the cut-off date.
The demand was that their service should be extended to 20 years, so that they could get pension and other facilities according to 20 years criteria.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K.M. Joseph was not inclined to allow the application as the plea effectively amounted to a review of the February 17 judgment of the court.
During the hearing, Senior Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, on behalf of the women officers, noted that the petitioner officers completed their 14 years in March 2020, and the court order was given on February 17. Since the government started implementing the order only in July, these women should get the benefit.
Adv. Col. Balasubramaniam, on behalf of the Defence Ministry, didn’t agree with Lekhi’s submission and stated that the government passed an order on July 16 only for those women officers who had completed their 14 years of service on February 17, the date of the apex court’s order. If it is made open ended, the government won’t be able to implement it.
The Court observed that the cut off date cannot be modified as that would have serious implications.
“Every batch will be completing 14 years. Our Judgment said those who had completed 14 years of service as on the date of the judgment will get pension and Permanent Commission benefits. The cut off is the date of the Judgment. If we modify it we will have to modify for successive batches,” the bench noted.