The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Army why 72 Women Short Service Commission Officers (WSSCO) were not considered for permanent commissions, and also restrained it from discharging them till further hearing on the matter.
A bench, headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, said: “Don’t discharge these women officers from services till further hearing in the matter.”
The bench, also comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna, sought reply from the Army within a week on a clutch of pleas filed by the women officers who alleged the March 25 ruling of the apex court, was not considered and all 72 of them were not considered for permanent commisssions at one go.
Senior advocate V. Mohana, representing some WSSCOs, submitted that the Army passed the order rejecting the officers at one go without giving reasons, despite the top court’s direction to consider all the 72 for grant of permanent commisssions. She added this action is against top court’s order, and needs to be set aside.
As the bench queried Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the Centre, on what is happening in this matter, he replied that it seems there may be 72 reasons for rejecting them and there cannot be one reason for rejecting all at one go.
He submitted that relevant documents have been sought to examine the factual matrix.
Mohana submitted the officers scored over 60 per cent marks in their subjects, were found medically fit, and no disciplinary and vigilance inquiry was pending against them. She added these were the three criteria listed in the top court’s verdict.
Senior advocate R. Balasubramanian, also representing the Centre, submitted as per his knowledge out of this batch of 72 officers, only 25 will be released in November, and sought time to file response.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for one of the women officers, contended the Army’s order was in teeth of the top court’s verdict.
After hearing arguments, the bench listed the matter for further hearing on October 8.