CPI(M) welcomes Parrikar’s “support” to navy women on permanent commission
New Delhi : Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has assured his support to a Delhi High Court order allowing permanent commission to women navy officers and said he would take all steps to ensure that it is not challenged before the Supreme Court, the CPI(M) today claimed.
Parrikar gave the assurance during a meeting here today with a delegation of woman officers led by CPI (M) politburo member Brinda Karat, the Left party said as it welcomed the stand taken by the Defence Minister on the issue.
“Parrikar gave a categorical assurance to the delegation that he fully supports the High Court judgment for their immediate reinstatement as permanent commission officers.
“He told the delegation he would also take appropriate measures to see that there was no appeal against the judgment by the navy,” CPI (M) said in a statement.
Welcoming Parrikar’s stand on the issue, Karat said his statement, if implemented, will go a long way in addressing the long-standing grievances of women in the services.
“We had a very good meeting with the Minister. This will go a long way in addressing the long-standing grievances of women in the service regarding their recruitment,” Karat, who met Parrikar along with navy officers — Cdr Puja Chabra, Cdr Sumita Balooni, Cdr Saroj Kumari and Cdr Prasanna E, said.
In a major relief for women naval officers, Delhi HC on September 4 had allowed a bunch of pleas seeking permanent commission for them in the force, saying “sexist bias and service bias” would not be allowed to block progress of women.
While the Army and Air Force allow permanent commission for women, the Navy has limited women officers only to short service commission of 14 years.
Karat also submitted a memorandum to Parrikar in which she raised concerns over the Navy’s reported move to appeal against the High Court’s order.
The ex-MP stated it was “extremely unfortunate” that at a time when government is declaring its commitment to women’s empowerment, the defence services, with the exception of the Air Force, should take a “retrograde” approach to its women officers, all of them in non-combat posts.
She also appealed to Parrikar to ensure the HC judgment for reinstatement of the petitioners is implemented in full by the Navy and that no appeal is made against the judgment.
“I also request you to persuade the Army to withdraw its appeal in the Supreme Court where it has taken a position against gender justice,” she said in the memorandum.
The September 4 order had come on the plea of several naval women officers, both retired and serving, from the logistics, education and air traffic control departments of the Navy.