Lady officer’s suicide a blot on the Army

I was shocked to read the news that Lt Sushmita Chakravarty, a lady officer of the Indian Army, had committed suicide out of frustration and depression. This will give a bad name to the Army unit. The court of inquiry will hopefully recommend measures how to prevent such incidents in future.

This case, however, brings into focus the employment of lady officers in the defence services. These ladies are recruited after their graduation in fields such as electronics, computer science, law and education. In some cases, they are highly qualified. They come as short service commissioned officers for a limited period only which in some cases gets extended.

The defence services are expected to employ them usefully in their specialties, to derive full benefit, and also ensure full job satisfaction to them so that they cope with rigours of the service like extended hours of work and time-bound assignments. Every effort should be made to ensure that frustration does not set in.The defence authorities should make a detailed study of the matter, by interviewing lady officers, serving and retired, about their utilisation, job satisfaction, shortcomings, and how to improve the overall conditions.

Brig G.S. SIDHU (retd), Chandigarh



The inclusion of lady officers in the armed forces came as a landmark, but some recent incidents, especially the suicide by a lady Army officer, is shocking. Incidents of harassment, molestation and now the officer’s suicide show gender bias in the Army; ladies are still regarded as the weaker sex.

The lady officers’ services are mostly limited to education or service corps. They are not assigned the same duties as their male counterparts. But then, they are still reluctant to do night duty or hardcore tasks such as guarding the Line of Control, staying in a bunker or tent with male officers or jawans.

As far as I see, the root cause of the problem is our mentality, which gives rise to gender bias in society and develop the notion of weaker sex. It will take a long time for us to overcome such hurdles.



It is very difficult for young ladies to operate and feel secure in an environment dominated by men. Such situations are cause for mental stress and these do create psychological problems and end in strain relations or even suicides. Perhaps it is due to chronic shortage of officers for many years that the Army is trying to fill up the gaps here and there.

However, little can be done until the social system is ready to absorb the shocks of change. That’s why many women with merit and intellect have suffered in male-dominated establishments where they are ridiculed and never taken seriously. I am afraid, a career in the Army, that too, in a combat force and inhospitable conditions, is not conducive to women’s biological built up, some rare examples notwithstanding.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana


That a soldier on sentry duty would part with his loaded weapon and hand it over to a junior subaltern is simply unbelievable. The death raises many questions about the uneasiness of the lady officers on duty.

Privation, being one of the principal reasons for depression but having been reduced to a large extent, other facilities necessary to lead a wholesome life must be looked into. Our armed forces are an 
inescapable organ of society and must be cared for.

Major BALDEV SIGH (retd), Ambala Cantonment

False promises

With the Assembly elections in the state eight months away, the Punjab government is announcing and implementing too many welfare schemes. All along, the ruling party has been bogged down by too many controversies. These range from the issues concerning farmers, teachers, PSEB privatisation, downsizing of employees, business, VAT, strikes by students, doctors and engineers to the people’s concern about deteriorating civic amenities.

Law and order is no better. Despite all this, the government is celebrating this year as Development Year by announcing welfare schemes in favour of SC/ST/OBCs only to garner votes.

At Ludhiana, in posh colonies, people, mostly migrant labours, have made pucca houses at the behest of political leaders. Neither the Improvement Trust nor the MC authorities demolish their houses because of their clout.


Time to check litigation

It is common knowledge that the government is the biggest litigant. Most people go to court seeking justice against executive arbitrariness. In most income-tax cases, though the departments lose their cases, still they go on appeal to the High Court.

Incidentally, the Commissioner of Appeals and appellate tribunals, are appointed by the Income-Tax department itself. Undoubtedly, to increase its lawyers’ workload as also raise the government’s cost towards litigation, the department still pushes the cases towards the High Court.

Who is the brain behind this continued and prolonged litigation? Is it at the Commissioner or tribunal level? Who decides to approach the High Court? The department should not litigate further if it has lost its case at its own levels. This will cut down litigation and save time, energy and money.

Dr A.L. ADLAKHA, Amritsar



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