New Delhi: For the first time ever, the Army will accord permanent commission to 12 women officers in its legal and education branches after they have cleared their promotion boards.
Their promotion to the ranks above Lt Colonels will come in a few months from now, Army officers said here on Wednesday.
Hitherto, women officers from the medical and dental branches of the Army Medical Corps were the ones to get permanent commission and some of them have become Lieutenant Generals in the Medical Services.
"Women officers, inducted into the Army on Short Service Commission (SSC) in 1996, have been considered for permanent commission and 12 of them have cleared the Boards held in the middle of November. They will pick up their ranks in a few months from now," officers in the Army headquarters said.
"This is the first ever promotion board held for women officers and this will now become a regular feature to provide them opportunity to choose permanent commission," they added.
Under the SSC, women officers can serve for a maximum of 14 years after they pass out of the Chennai-based Officers Training Academy.
But they are now being considered for permanent commission following a Delhi High Court order this March that asked the Army to provide them the opportunity to become career officers on par with men SSC officers.
The IAF had already accorded permanent commission to a few women officers after the Delhi HC orders in this regard.
The move comes a year after the Defence Ministry decided to accorded permanent commission to women officers from the 2010 batch of SSC officers.
Soon after, the serving women officers approached the Delhi HC pleading that they too be provided the opportunity.
The Army at present has about 1,100 women serving in non-combat branches such as Education, Legal, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Supply and Ordnance Corps.
In the 14 years that the SSC women officers serve in the Army, they only grow up to the rank of Lt Cols or their equivalents in the Navy and the Air Force.
With the decision to accord permanent commission, they may become Colonels, Brigadiers, Major Generals and even Lieutenant Generals.