Sunday, January 29, 2023

Special selection board to consider 246 women Army officers for promotion: Centre

The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court a special selection board has been convened from January 9 to consider around 246 women Army officers for promotion.
Senior advocate R Balasubramanian, appearing for the Centre, informed a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha that the special selection board-III will consider the issue of promotion of these officers. “We are seized of the matter. They are saying special selection board will be over by January 23. We will keep it after January 24,” the bench noted and posted the matter for further hearing on January 30. The apex court said the respondent shall file an updated report before it setting out the results of the special selection board.
The top court was hearing a plea by 34 women Army officers who have alleged junior male officers are being considered over them for promotions to perform “combat and commanding roles” in the force. While hearing the matter on December 9, the apex court had asked the Army to put its “house in order”, saying it feels the Army has not been “fair” to the women officers who have alleged delay in promotion after being granted permanent commission on the directions of the top court in 2020.
The bench had asked the Additional Solicitor General and Balasubramanian, who appeared for the Centre and the armed forces, why they had not considered these women officers for promotion in October.
The law officer had told the court the Army has sanctioned 150 seats for promotion of women officers. Senior advocate V Mohna, appearing for the women officers, had said since the apex court judgement granting permanent commission to the women officers, 1,200 junior male officers have been promoted.
Earlier, the top court had asked the Centre about what steps it intended to take with regard to the 34 women officers who alleged discrimination.
The 34 women army officers who have filed the petition, include Col Priyamvada A Mardikar and Col Asha Kale, both granted permanent commission.
They have alleged they were discriminated against by a special selection board convened two months ago that reportedly considered male officers much junior to them for promotion.
“Why are you holding a selection board for male officers and not women?” the apex court had asked.
The senior counsel for the Centre had said a special selection board will be convened for women officers against the 150 additional posts that were in the final stages of approval by the Union Finance Ministry.
The senior lawyer had assured the court that the grievance of the women applicants will be resolved.

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