Supreme Court pulls up Army for ‘indirect discrimination’ of women officers, calls ACR evaluation process flawed

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday (March 25) allowed the pleas of several women SSC officers seeking grant of permanent commission in the Army and held that the ACR evaluation process was flawed and discriminatory in nature.

The apex court said the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) evaluation criteria for grant of permanent commission to women officers ignored the achievement and laurels brought by them to the Indian Army.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said the process by which women officers were evaluated did not address the gender discrimination concern raised in the verdict delivered by the apex court last year.

“We must recognise here that the structure of our society has been created by males, for males,” the Supreme Court said.

“We find that those excelled in sports events were ignored, a detailed list of achievements by women has been given in the judgment… It looks like the Board was sitting for rejection rather than selection,” apex court added. 

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The top court delivered the verdict on a batch of pleas filed by several women officers who had sought compliance of its February last year directions to the Centre for grant of permanent commission, promotions and consequential benefits.

In its landmark verdict delivered on February 17 last year, the top court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission, rejecting the Centre’s stand of their physiological limitations as being based on “sex stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.

It had directed that within three months, all serving SSC women officers have to be considered for permanent commission irrespective of them having crossed 14 years or, as the case may be, 20 years of service.

(Witn inputs from PTI)

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