New Delhi: In a major victory for women in
the armed forces, the Armed Forces Tribunal has directed the
Government to treat military nurses at par with regular
commissioned officers of the three Services in terms of rank
The order by the Tribunal, which enjoys judicial powers,
was pronounced on a petition by former Military Nursing
Service (MNS) officer Major General Usha Sikder who had sought
restoration of status of Nursing Officers at par with all
"Respondents (central government) are directed to treat
all the officers of Military Nursing Service as a part of the
regular force of the Indian Armed Forces and extend all
entitlements which are commensurate with the rank as equal to
commissioned officers of Indian Army to her," the two-member
Bench headed by Tribunal Chairman Justice A K Mathur said.
The Tribunal gave the order while quashing the Army
order of April 2004 which stated that MNS officers were not at
par with rest of the officers of the Services.
"We have no hesitation to declare that Maj Gen Sikder is
entitled to be treated as a commissioned officer and as a part
of the regular force, and she is authorised to all
entitlements which are authorised to the regular recruited
army officers of the Indian Army," the Tribunal said.
After the Tribunal order, the MNS officers would be
allowed to display flags and star plates on their official
vehicles, which symbolise their rank and status.
Maj Gen Sikder had earlier approached Delhi High Court
contending that she was "humiliated and insulted" during her
visit to a naval hospital in Mumbai by the Commanding Officer
Rear Admiral V K Singh who "unceremoniously" denied her
"authorised" staff car with star plate and flag signifying her
Officers of the rank of Brigadier-equivalent and above
in the armed forces are authorised to display ranks on the
flags and star plates of their official vehicles.
Her case was transferred from the High Court after the
Tribunal came in the being last year.
Women are commissioned as Nursing officers in the MNS
under the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), which looks
after health-related matters of the three Services.
The order is second victory for women in the armed
forces within a month as Delhi High Court recently ordered
Defence Ministry to grant Permanent Commission to women
officers in the Army and the Air Force, who have been in
non-combat roles in the armed forces since 1993.