The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that all women naval officers in the Indian Navy would be entitled to permanent commission, which would make them eligible for pension and other retirement benefits.
The ruling breaks the final shield of discrimination adopted by the defence ministry against women officers in the Indian Army, the Air Force and the Navy.
The apex court had earlier quashed a similar discriminatory policy against women army officers and air force officers.
Under the policy, the women officers were compulsorily retired after 14 years of service by keeping them as short service commission (SSC) officers, disentitling them to pension and other benefits.
Relying upon its earlier judgments in the case of women army and air force officers, a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi rejected the argument of the Centre that such a policy was adopted as women naval officers were physically not suitable for carrying out various duties related to the navy.
One contention put forth by the Centre was that the Indian Navy substantially operates on vessels of Russian origin in which toilet facilities for women are absent.
The court passed the directives while dealing with an appeal filed by the Centre challenging the direction of Delhi High Court and the Armed Forces Tribunal to grant permanent service commission status to women naval offices on a par with their male counterparts.