Row over grant of PC to woman officer: SC asks Navy to set up fresh selection board

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 26-02-2024 19:23 IST | Created: 26-02-2024 19:23 IST
Row over grant of PC to woman officer: SC asks Navy to set up fresh selection board
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Coming to the rescue of a retired woman naval officer, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Indian Navy to set up a fresh selection board to consider her eligibility for granting permanent service commission.

The top court exercised its extraordinary power under Article 142 of the Constitution which empowers it to pass ''any decree or order necessary for doing complete justice in any case or matter pending before it'' throughout the territory of the country.

A special bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli heard the plea of Commodore Seema Chaudhary, a resident of Ambala in Haryana, that she was wrongfully denied the permanent commission (PC) in the Indian Navy.

Chaudhary was working with the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department, the legal arm of the Indian Navy, as the short service commission (SSC) officer from 2007 and was relieved from the service on August 5, 2022.

It observed that ''an element of prejudice'' was caused to the officer when she was considered and denied the PC.

The top court asked the Navy to convene a selection board which would consider her case for grant of permanent commission afresh without being influenced by any observations made in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings by on or before April 15, 2024.

The bench said any Annual Confidential Reports (ACR) of the officer, which had not been supplied to her, would not be considered while examining her plea for grant of permanent commission.

The bench said that the officer can seek legal remedy if she is aggrieved by the subsequent order in the matter pertaining to her plea for grant of PC.

The top court, on March 17, 2020, had delivered a significant verdict paving the way for granting permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Navy. It had said a level playing field ensures that women have the opportunity to overcome ''histories of discrimination''.

The battle for gender equality is about confronting the battles of the mind and history is replete with examples where women have been denied their just entitlements under law and the right to fair and equal treatment in the workplace, the top court had said.

Prior to this, the top court had opened the doors for similarly-placed women officers in the Army.

The SSC officers are inducted under the 10+4 scheme, in which the officer serves for 10 years and can exercise the option of extending his service by four years. The PC is granted to SSC officers subject to service requirement and availability of vacancies.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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