Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 12
The Army today agreed to grant permanent commission (PC) to all eligible women Short Service Commission officers (WSSCO) after the Supreme Court threatened to initiate contempt action against Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Manoj Mukund Naravane for failure to comply with its orders.
The Army may be supreme in its own authority, but this constitutional court is also supreme in its own jurisdiction. Bench
“We are holding the Army guilty of contempt of court. We are putting you on guard. Since you have not complied with our orders, you will have to face the consequences. The Army may be supreme in its own authority, but this constitutional court is also supreme in its own jurisdiction,” a Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud said.
As the Bench was dictating the order, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain informed it that he had got instruction that the Army was willing to grant PC to 11 officers who filed contempt petitions even as petitioners’ counsel demanded that all eligible officers be granted PC. Later, Jain clarified that the Army was willing to grant PC to all WSSCOs fulfilling the criteria set by the top court’s March 25 order, irrespective of whether they moved the court or not.
The Bench directed the Army to issue orders in 10 days for the grant of PC to 11 officers who had moved the court, and in three weeks for those who didn’t approach the court. The Bench, which chose not to go ahead with the contempt proceedings against the COAS, appreciated Jain for resolving the issue. It said all individual cases would be dealt with in accordance with law. On October 22, the top court had ordered the Centre and the Army to grant PC to 39 WSSCOs within a week and directed them to submit details of 25 other such officers, explaining the reasons why they were not considered. With today’s direction, 68 of total 71 WSSCOs denied the PC would be granted the same. One woman officer had opted out, while three were found medically unfit.
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