Why bias against women in promotion: Supreme Court to Army | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday frowned at the Army authorities for holding selection boards to promote male officers to Colonel rank while withholding the same for female Lt Colonels and granted two weeks to the Centre to specify the steps being taken to open promotion avenues for permanent commission women officers.
As many as 34 women officers, through senior advocate V Mohana, alleged that male officers junior to them have stolen a march over them because of blatant discrimination and non-implementation of the SC decision granting permanent commission and consequential benefits to them.
Citing Justice Chandrachud’s landmark judgments in 2020 and 2021 granting permanent commission to women officers, she told the SC that the women officers “are being wrongly denied study leave and deputation… they are still being subjected to systematic, indirect and gender discrimination”.
Mohana said the Army authorities had announced, pursuant to the SC’s March 25, 2021 judgment, that a special selection board will be conducted for these women officers and those having seniority between 1992 and 2007 will be considered, depending on their eligibility, for promotion to Colonel.
However, no such selection board has been held till date even though two such boards were carried out to promote male officers, complained Mohana. “Senior women officers are forced to serve under junior gentleman officers in a highly seniority conscious organisation like the Indian Army and they are being posted as additional officers, being treated as superseded or re-employed officers, to carry out jobs which are generally assigned to captain or major rank officers,” he said.
A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli took serious note of this and told senior advocate R Balasubramanian, who appeared for the Centre, that if this is the case, then the special promotion board for male officers for promotion to Colonel should not be held.
When Balasubramanian said that the board has already been held, the bench said, “then do not declare the results”. Pushed into a spot, Balasubramanian assured the court that the decision to fill 150 posts of Colonels are at the final stage and that once that decision is taken, these women officers would be eligible to be promoted.
When the bench queried about their loss of seniority, Balasubramanian said that seniority would be decided from the date of joining and with all consequential benefits. “Nothing prejudicial to women officers would be done,” he assured and persuaded the SC to post the matter after two weeks.

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