Women work in almost every field nowadays even in the defence services. In the Navy, Army and Air force women are granted positions in Short Service Commission (SCC) but women are not allowed to be in the Command Assignment which violate Article 14 and unjust as well.

The secretary, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya &Ors.

Section 12 of the Army Act, 1950 states that females are not allowed to be employed in the army except the fields where the Central Government allows the females to be employed in the Army. A writ petition was filed by Babita Puniya in February 2003 for permanent commissions of females in the Short Service Commission. 

In the end of 2005 the Ministry of Defence allowed the employment of women in Indian Army. In the year 2006 they issued another notification which allowed the women officers in SCC to serve in the Indian Army for 14 years.

In the year 2008 another decision was taken by the Centre which was to grant the permanent Commissions to women Officers in departments like JAG, Education. In the year 2010 the Delhi High Court combined all the petitions filed for permanent commission for women officers in defence service and held that women officers should get the permanent commission but Army Challenged the judgment passed by the Delhi High Court in the Supreme Court.

It was argued by the Government that a lot of issues come with women like difficult situations, maternity issues, child care etc. they also argued that they have to face situations in posting of soft places and not hazardous places, spouse related issues.

The Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice D.Y.Chandrachud challenged the Government’s argument and stated that it is a violation of the fundamental rights provided by the Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. Hence Court held that women officer in SSC should be allowed to permanent commission for 14 years or may be for twenty years of service.

Union of India v. Lt Cdr. Annie Nagaraja

In this case writ petitions were filed by the women officers in Logistics, Education and Air Traffic Cadre branches of SSC. The issue raised by them is that even after serving for 14 years in the defence service they did not grant the Permanent Commissions.

The Court held that all the officers in SSC serving in the branch of Education, Law and Logistics are allowed to get the grant for Permanent Commission. And the service period for male and female should be same for the grant of the Permanent Commission.


  1. Sehgal D.R. (2020, August 16). The Secretory, Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya & Ors: a case study. Retrieved from https://blog.ipleaders.in/secretary-ministry-defence-vs-babita-puniya-ors-case-study.

(Author: Charu Shrivastava, LYT)

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