Supreme Court asks Centre to grant permanent commission to women in Coast Guard, warns of intervention

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Supreme Court asks Centre to grant permanent commission to women in Coast Guard, warns of intervention

| Updated: February 26, 2024 19:44

Permanent commission to women in Coast Guard, warns of intervention

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Monday directed the Central government to ensure that eligible women officers in the Indian Coast Guard receive permanent commission. Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud asserted that “women cannot be left out” and warned the government that the Court will take necessary steps if they fail to act.

“All these arguments about functionality etc. do not hold water in 2024. Women cannot be excluded. If you don’t do it, we will do it. So take a look at that,” the CJI warned.

The directive came during the hearing of a plea filed by Priyanka Tyagi, a woman officer in the Coast Guard, seeking permanent commission for eligible women holding short-service commissions.

The Attorney General, R Venkataramani, argued that there were “functional and operational difficulties” in granting permanent commissions. However, the Court countered, emphasizing that women must be included on the board established by the Coast Guard to address these concerns.

Earlier, the Court had expressed strong disapproval of the Coast Guard’s exclusionary policy, urging them to develop a gender-neutral policy for treating women officers “fairly.”

“You talk about ‘Nari Shakti’ (woman power). Now show it here,” the bench remarked during a previous hearing last week. They further questioned the government’s “patriarchal approach” considering previous judgments granting permanent commissions to women officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The Court also criticized the Coast Guard’s differential treatment compared to the Navy, questioning why they wouldn’t grant permanent commissions to women.

The hearing of the plea has been adjourned to Friday. This strong direction from the Supreme Court is likely to put pressure on the government to address the issue of gender equality within the Indian Coast Guard.

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