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`Govt open to permanent comm for women officers`

Defence MM Pallam Raju Wednesday struck a different note, saying his Ministry was in favour of opening up more streams of armed forces granting permanent commission to women officers.

New Delhi: Even as the Army challenged a Delhi High Court verdict on permanent commission to women defence officers in the Supreme Court, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju Wednesday struck a different note, saying his ministry was in favour of opening up more streams of armed forces for their permanent commission.

The government was "very happy" with the court verdict on providing permanent commission to women, Raju told reporters here on the sidelines of a CII seminar.

"This is also the wish of the (defence) ministry. we want to give permanent commission to women in all three services," he said.

Noting that at successive conferences of defence commanders more and more streams were being opened up for induction of women, Raju said the decision was being looked at by the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

"We will be opening it (armed forces) up more and more for them (women)," he added.

However, he said the armed forces` view was that the women officers should be kept away from combat role.

"In the spirit of things, the views of the armed forces has been to not to put women in situations where there is potential harm to them," he said.

Raju`s views come a day after the Defence Ministry filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court verdict of March 12 ordering the Army to accord permanent commission to its women officers.

Though the Delhi HC order was for a batch of petitions from both Army and Air Force officers, the review plea in the apex court was only with regard to the women army officers, as the Air Force had already adhered to the court order and offered permanent commission to the 22 women officers who had won the case.
However, the women army officers, who had got a favourable court order on permanent commission, had a couple of days ago filed a contempt plea in the Delhi HC against Army Chief General V K Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and the Army`s Adjutant General for not complying with its March 12 order.
The HC had issued a notice of contempt to the three Defence Ministry officials following which the review plea was filed before the apex court.


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