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By- Arsha Sharma


Women are often underestimated in our society. In ancient times, their role was often confined to household chores, giving birth to children and caretakers of their family. Their presence in political and social sphere was not appreciated. Working women were often looked down upon by the society. The patriarchal society believed that the presence of women in political and social arena would lead to the dissolution of the institution of marriage and would often lead to the breaking of familial ties. Women were encouraged to stay at home and take care of their families. This made a woman dependent on a man for his needs which often lead to violence against women and marital rapes.


The modern era is witnessing many changes. Women are stepping out of their houses and breaking the age- old stereotypes. The wave of feminism across the globe is encouraging women to become independent and to raise their voices against discrimination faced by them. Despite an increase in the number of working women in India, there is inequality prevailing between men and women. Women are often paid fewer wages than men for the same amount of work. Women are often discouraged to take up higher positions as these positions are often considered to be fit for a man. A woman who manages to secure a higher position in the work sector is not given the respect that she deserves.


Gender inequality is present in all the fields in even today’s time. One such example where women were considered inferior to men is the Indian Army. Permanent Commission in the Indian Army refers to the service in the Indian Army till the age of retirement, that is, sixty years of age either as a soldier or as an officer. However, earlier, Permanent Commission in the Indian Army was not available to women and was only restricted to men. Women were allowed to serve in the Indian Army only for a term of five year which was later changed to ten years and could be extended for a term of fourteen years. The extension was made only in certain streams and infantry and armored corps was excluded. Several cases were filed before the courts against this unjust practice in the court. Several women officers demanded permanent commission in the Indian Army through various PILs. However, the Government challenged the claims on various grounds before the Supreme Court of India. The Government argued that women should not be given permanent commission in the Indian Army because of several reasons- absence from the duty due to pregnancy, familial separation, motherhood, difficult working conditions for women and so on. These arguments were rejected by the Supreme Court because they were considered discriminatory in nature and violated the right to equality guaranteed in the Constitution of India.


The Court rejected all the claims made by the Government against the Permanent Commission of women in the Indian Army and allowed the Permanent Commission of Women in the Indian Army in almost ten streams of the Indian Army in order to establish equality between men and women in the Indian Army.

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