SC stays releasing order of women army officers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed the releasing order of sixteen women army officers issued by the Defence Ministry and said that they would continue in their jobs till their plea seeking permanent commission is decided by it. Granting relief to the officers, a bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale said that the releasing order will remain stayed till further order.

"Release order dated April 10 shall remain stayed till further order. As a consequence of this, the officers will be entitled to their salaries and allowances," the bench said. Advocate Meenakshi Lekhi, appearing for the officers, had pointed out that the Defence Ministry had issued marching orders against them despite the Army?s decision that they would continue in service till the pendency of their appeal.

Six months ago, the Army had taken a policy decision to continue the services of its women officers. But on April 10, the Defence Ministry suddenly issued marching orders to the six officers and set a deadline of May 10 for their release. Earlier, the apex court had on March 26 had asked the Army to grant permanent commission to a woman officer, embroiled in legal battle for six years, in the rank of lieutenant colonel. It had dismissed the Army`s petition against a Delhi High Court order for granting permanent commission to Major Leena Gaurav.