By Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the army and Centre to respond to the petitions filed by 72 women short service commission officers (WSSCO) who have alleged they were denied permanent commission in violation of the apex court’s March 25 judgment. The said decision had directed all WSSCOs who secured over 60% marks to be eligible for permanent commission, subject to disciplinary and vigilance clearance.
A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna directed the Centre and Army to file their response by October 8 and ordered that none of the 72 WSSCOs be released from service.
The women officers had filed contempt petitions against the decision of the army to deny them permanent commission (PC) after the results of the Special No 5 Selection Board (SB-5) held in September 2020 were declassified earlier this week.
Senior advocates Huzefa Ahmadi, Meenakshi Arora and V Mohana, who represented the 72 officers, claimed the army had been “unfair” in denying the WSSCOs their right to PC by rejecting them on grounds such as “disobedience of orders, lapses in government procurement, forging medical documents, poor work ethics, lack of professionalism, un-officer like conduct, poor performance in courses”, which were not laid down as grounds in the March 25 judgment by the SC.
They said the Centre pointed out that of the 529 WSSCOs who opted for PC, 514 fulfilled 60% marks criteria and 72 among them were held ineligible on other grounds. The court said, “You must implement the judgment (March 25) as it stands…”
Additional solicitor general (ASG) Sanjay Jain sought time to file response.