India’s Supreme Court has ordered for permanent commission for all women officers in the Indian Army.

The order extends permanent service for women and makes them eligible for ranks, pensions and promotions. It also marks a milestone in the decade-long legal fight.

The move is a step closer to gender equality and supports by providing female soldiers with the same opportunities and benefits as their male counterparts.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi ruled: “To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army, men and women, who serve as equal citizens in a common mission.

“The submissions advanced in the note tendered to this court are based on sex stereotypes premised on assumptions about socially ascribed roles of gender which discriminate against women.”

The court noted that there are currently 1,653 women officers. With this ruling, all serving short service commission (SSC) women officers will be considered for permanent commission within three months.

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In addition, if women officers have more than 14 years of service and do not opt for grant of PC, they should be allowed to serve until they reach 20 years of pensionable service.

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said: “I wholeheartedly welcome honourable Supreme Court’s judgement on giving the women officers permanent commission in the armed forces.

“A historic decision to allow women in field operations came earlier when the then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that women will be inducted into the military police. The recruitment process has started in 2019.”

According to the minister, a permanent commission was granted to women in the Indian Army’s ten branches.