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Permanent commission to women officers: BJP, Congress argue over affidavit

They blame each other for filing affidavit in Supreme Court against permanent commission

The Supreme Court order on permanent commission to all women officers on Monday triggered a political war of words between the Congress and the BJP, with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi accusing the Centre of disrespecting women by arguing against permanent commission for women.

In a tweet, Mr. Gandhi said, “The government disrespected every Indian woman by arguing in the SC that women Army officers didn’t deserve command posts or permanent service because they were inferior to men. I congratulate the women for standing up and proving the BJP government wrong.”

BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who was the advocate for the women officers, strongly rebutted Mr. Gandhi’s claim and pointed out that it was the Congress-led UPA government in July 2010 that had gone in appeal to the Supreme Court against a High Court order that had favoured permanent commission for women.

“In July 2012, they [the Union government] had filed an additional affidavit, citing various reasons and grounds, why the order be declined...I want to tell Mr. Rahul Gandhi that he better be aware what exactly has transpired,” said Ms. Lekhi.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in a series of tweets, put out the the Modi government’s record in inducting women in the armed forces.

“As of June 2019, women were inducted in all branches of the IAF, with terms and conditions for women officers being issued from time to time. GoI is working to strengthen the ‘Stree Shakti’ in our Armed Forces and we stand committed to move forward in this direction,” he said on twitter.

“Before 2016, women made up just 2.5% of the armed forces, working in mainly non-combat roles. As of Jan 2019, 3.89% of the army personnel comprised women, while 6.7% of the Navy and 13.28% of the Air Force personnel were women as of June 2019,” he said.

Welcoming the judgment, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra described it as ‘historic’ and one that gave new flight to women.

“Women are capable — in the Army, in valour, in water, land and sky. This is a befitting reply to the prejudiced Modi government, which is opposed to women’s power,” she tweeted in Hindi.

CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat said, “We really welcome the judgment. For so many years, women in the defence forces have been fighting for their constitutional right to equality. Now the Supreme Court has upheld that right.”

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 10:45:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bjp-congress-argue-over-affidavit/article30845552.ece

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