New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the Delhi High Court’s September 2015 order granting permanent commission to all serving women officers in the Indian Navy. Observing that ‘women officers can sail with the same efficiency as their male counterparts,’ the apex court directed the Centre to implement the order within three months. Also Read - Madhuri Kanitkar Becomes Lieutenant General in Army, Third Woman Officer to Achieve Distinction

A two-judge bench of the top court, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud and also comprising Justice Ajay Rastogi, upheld the high court order.

The Centre had, in 2008, decided to grant permanent commission in the Navy to women officers joining as Short Service Commission (SSC) officers. This, however, was not applicable to the-then serving women officers. This was challenged in the Delhi High Court, which called the exclusion of serving women officers ‘irrational and arbitrary’ and ruled that there was no convincing reason to exclude serving women officers from being considered for permanent commission.

The government had moved the Supreme Court against this order.

Under the permanent commission, an officer can serve in the Navy until he/she retires. The SSC, on the other hand, is for 10 years and can be extended by four more years.

Last month, in a similar order, the same two-judge bench of the top court had upheld the Delhi High Court’s 2010 order granting permanent commission to women officers in the Army.  Days later, in another major development concerning women officers in the armed forces, Major General Madhuri Kanitkar became a Lieutenant General in the Army, thus becoming only the third woman officer to achieve this distinction.