Permanent Commission in its literal sense means "a career in the Army until you retire". Women officers could not previously have permanent roles in the Army and had to join through the SSC route, which lasted up to 14 years. After last year's judgment of SC, they are now entitled to serve permanently when their commission is completed. The Supreme Court of India (SC) ruled in the landmark case of Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya & Ors in February 2020 that women were qualified for Permanent Commission and commanding positions in the Indian Army on par with their male counterparts. Their victory ensures that female officers will be able to serve in all 10 branches of the Army on a permanent basis. But even now, there is a glass ceiling for women officers to enter combat forces and other 8 branches.
However, being legally eligible for a PC does not mean that the road to being granted one is smooth. A year and a half into the verdict, as per data released by the Indian Army, only 45% of eligible female officers had been granted PC comparatively to 90% of male officers were cleared for PC. This shows the evident resistance to women officers from the central Government and the Indian Army. The ground reality of armed forces is the main reason behind the Army and central Government taking such an orthodox and conservative stand. Army men who were previously taught to kill their femininities are suddenly asked to accommodate the women as their superior. Inevitably, the transition towards equality for women in the forces will be far from frictionless.
This paper tries to present the repercussions of the Supreme Court's judgment on women's ranks, pension, and opportunities in the Indian Army, with further examination of new institutional obstacles they have to overcome to be permanently commissioned. This research also aims to determine whether the policy of the Centre and the Indian Army in this regard is violative of the right to equality and lacks reasonable ground for discrimination.