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Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Indian Army

Mon 27 Jul, 2020

Five months after the Supreme Court ordered that women be allowed Permanent Commission (PC) in all non-combat streams in the Army , Ministry of Defence has issued the formal Government Sanction Letter for grant of Permanent Commission to women officers in the Indian Army.

What is the order ?

  • The order specifies the grant of PC to SSC women officers in all the 10 streams of the Army in which they presently serve —  Army Air Defence (AAD), Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), Army Service Corps (ASC), Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), Intelligence Corps, Judge and Advocate General (JAG), Army Educational Corps (AEC).


  • About 322 women officers had approached the apex court on the issue of PC and the issue of command postings.
  • In a landmark verdict on February 17, the top court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission and command postings, rejecting the Centre's stand of their physiological limitations as being based on "sex stereotypes" and "gender discrimination against women".
  • The order follows this Supreme Court verdict in February that directed the government that women Army officers be granted PC and command postings in all services other than combat.

What are court’s Arguments ?

  • In its appeal, the government cited “physical” and “physiological limitations” in granting command positions to women offers, to which the Supreme Court said there was need for administrative will and “change of mindset.”
  • There are total of 1,653 women officers which is a miniscule 4 % of the total strength of commissioned officers in the Army.

Implications of the judgement

  • This paves the way for empowering Women Officers to shoulder larger roles in the organisation. 
  • It has removed the restriction of women officers only being allowed to serve in staff appointments, which is the most significant and far-reaching aspect of the judgment.
  • It means that women officers will be eligible for all the command appointments, at par with male officers, which would open avenues for further promotions to higher ranks for them.