Gender Equality, Adult, Balance, Weight Scale

CASE SUMMARY: THE SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE V BABITA PUNIYA

BY – Ayush Kumar

TABLE OF CONTENTS

S No.CONTENT
1.Synopsis
2.Background of the case
3.Issues
4.
a.
b.
Arguments
Appellant
Respondent
5.Judgement
6.Provisions
7.Analysis

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

Before we move further let’s understand the background section 12 of the army act, 1950 does not allow women to recruit in the army even Indian navy’s section 9(2) of the navy act, 1957 does not enroll women.

1992: till this date women were limited to medical, dental, nursing only. For the first time government granted women to join short service commissions like judge advocate general, intelligence corps, the regiment of artillery, etc. The role was increased by a bit but not fully they wanted a permanent commission.

2003:  A writ petition was filed within the work of public interest litigation by a young advocate Babita Puniya in Delhi court seeking permanent commission of women through SSC and many other petitions were filed and tagged with Babita Puniya’s petition.

2005: Ministry of Defense issued a notification which extended the service for women and again a notice was issued which said that women can serve till 14 years. But the petition was filed challenging the notice and demand for the permanent commission and this time it was done by major Leena Gaurav.

2008: Center gave the SSC women permanent commission but only in some departments such as education judge advocate and some areas of navy and air force so the petition was filed again challenging the order as it gave PC to only some departments.

2010: Delhi high court clubbed all the petitions and gave the judgment that those women who served more than 5 years should be granted the PC in the army. But this was challenged by the army and the supreme court gave a stay order on Delhi high court’s judgment.

2018: Central government told the supreme court to reconsider its order and grant PC to SSC women.

2019: in February supreme court granted the permanent commission to women who were recruited through SSC but only those women will be considered who applied after the order was passed.

ISSUES

 1.        Should women be granted the permanent commission or not?

 2.        Is the order given on 15th Feb 2019 implemented properly?

 3.        Conditions given to women officers are governing and proper and what types of    conditions are there?

ARGUMENTS

Appellant:

Appellant side was of secretary and ministry of defense:

  • it was argued that border areas do not have facilities such as hygiene no proper infrastructure and basic facilities will be missing therefore this was the main reason women were not appointed as officers or solider.
  • The basic point of the advocate was that Delhi high court failed while giving the judgment because they did not consider the section 10 and 12 of Indian army.
  • Next point on which the argument was made related to dangers in the service of the army like adverse conditions no privacy and insurgency areas or maternity problems, child care are the biggest problem which is always there in women.
  • The Union Government also stated that the Army faces a huge management challenge “to manage decent posting infrastructure and areas not involving hazardous duties with the regular posts with the other women in the station”. The Army has to see for the spouse posting, “they want to leave on account of maternity leave, child care leave” which results in men holidays getting reduced.
  • The government also made a written statement referring again to the issue of pregnancy, maternity leave, and problems that were created by domestic works, and last was the differences in physical capabilities of men and women.
  • And the last argument was that the benefits of pension were already given to them.

JUDGEMENT

The final verdict was given by D.Y Chandrachud in which he clearly challenged the notions of union and gave clear order that they are in assumption that women are not equal to men. Further, he said that this is a breach of fundamental rights article 14. And added that article 33 only imposes a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right in armed forces and this is not the right restriction so women have to be given chance to get appointed as PC with some conditions:

  • Women will get appointed as PC whether they have served for 14 years or not.
  • Delhi high court order is invalid.
  • They will get all the choices of specialization they want as the men do.
  • All women can get through SSC and are eligible to PC and will get all the perks pension etc.

Lastly, it was said that all steps should be taken and completed within three months of the judgment.

Gender equality is always a hot topic in India, it has been a fraught, thorny and controversial topic since ages. Women always end up fighting for their rights and caged in a stereotype barrier. But this ended when supreme court gave a judgement in their favor and ordered the grant of permanent commission and are eligible to hold command post. This was the result of the case Babita Puniya v ors in which group of women officers and advocates went to the apex court and raised their voice.

PROVISIONS INVOLVED

1. Sec 10 of Army act, 1950: The president has all the power to appoint an officer.

2. Sec 12 of Army act, 1950: No women are eligible in regular army rather they can be appointed as a staff member.

3. Article 14 of Indian Constitution: Equality before law Everyone is equal before law.

4. Article 15 of Indian Constitution: Prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

5. Article 16 of Indian Constitution: Public employment should be on the basis of equal opportunity.

6. Article 33 of Indian Constitution: Power of parliament to modify the rights conferred by this part in their application etc.

ANALYSIS

73 years have been completed of Independence and yet we cannot proudly say that women have been provided with equal rights and scope in any field. In 2021, the era of the so-called modern period we can see that yet the society does not accept women to be equal to men, there are several examples where women are ahead of men whether it’s periods, pregnancy, managing household works they are equal to men. But this time some hope came when the supreme court ordered in favour of women by giving them a permanent commission in the armed force. Here it clearly shows that they are equal in strength what men possess as they go through the rigorous training as men do and then get selected. I can say that women have the capacity and eligibility to do any work and they will also perform their best but they are not provided by opportunity. Our constitution from the beginning gives rights to all of them from articles 14 to 18 they all talk about equality and right to all citizens so the order from the supreme court was right. But as I said after 1 year of the judgment it was not followed by the Indian army therefore supreme court expressed anguish that follows the order and it is not a proudly say that army allows women.  The major setback in our society is that women are weaker and should only do domestic work. It was seen in the submission of union which just focused on sex stereotype, but the court came forward and accepted that when someone has the capacity, then it is not fair to hold the service by armed force. The judgment was perfect gave the right to women and they were eligible for PC and were given pensions and perks.

In last this is just the one case or example we have to change our thinking as discrimination is everywhere politics education in every house so we have to stand for them and make changes in this 21st century. This judgment will always remain as the best judgment for gender equality in defence service includes Army, Air Force, and Navy.

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