NEW DELHI: A woman, who is serving as a colonel in the Indian Army and is due to retire today, has urged the Supreme Court to stay her retirement and allowed her to continue in service until a Special Board can be conducted for promotion.
Advocate Archana Pathak Dave mentioned this before a bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud seeking an urgent hearing of women Army officials.
The top court assured her to list the matter soon for hearing.
Advocate Archana Pathak Dave apprised the court that the woman applicant is a serving colonel in the Indian Army with unblemished service. The officer is due for retirement on July 31, 2023, having attained the age of 54 years.
The Applicant-officer is seeking the court’s indulgence to allow her to continue in the same appointment to enable her to earn her first ACR in the rank of Colonel which is due on September 30, 2023. In case the officer retires, she will not be able to earn her ACR on the due date as she is presently deficit of 32 days to earn her ACR, the lawyer said.
She further added that the ACR is required as a part of the criteria for consideration for the Special Board (SB) 2 (Brigadier).
The Applicant urged for the stay of her retirement and prays to be allowed to continue in service until her Special Board 2 can be conducted for which she was not considered eligible due to non-compliance with the order of the High Court of Delhi dated March 12, 2010 by the respondents. Due to non-consideration of the Applicant, her fundamental rights have been violated, the advocate said.
The lawyer apprised the court that vide order dated July 14, 2023, the main matter was directed to be listed as top of the Board on September 5, 2023, since the matter involves a very crucial aspect for consideration of the top court and needs an urgent hearing.
The fresh application has been filed in the ongoing petition of the Army women officers, who have said that even after clear directions from the Supreme Court in the historic Babita Punia case in February 2020, the promotions to higher ranks to Women Officers have still not been implemented.
The officers have said that it was completely unjustified, unsustainable, illegal, unreasonable, arbitrary and a matter of great humiliation and insult to the Senior Women Officers that respondents have been promoting junior Gentleman Officers to Colonel Rank while withholding the promotion of the Senior Women Officers.
The petitioner had sought to direct the respondents to conduct Selection Board No. 2 for the Women Officers who will be promoted to Colonel Rank and whose male counterparts have already been considered by Selection Board No. 2 for promotion to Brigadier Rank. (ANI)