The selection process taken up by army officials in promoting women officers is arbitrary: Supreme Court

Case title: Nitisha and Others Vs Union of India and Others

Case no.: Writ Petition (Civil) No 1109 of 2020

Decided on: 03.11.2023

Quorum: Hon’ble Chief Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, Hon’ble Justice Manoj Misra, Hon’ble Justice J B Pardiwala.


 Hon’ble Justices observed that “the attitude has been to find some way to defeat the just entitlement of the women officers. Such an approach does disservice to the need to provide justice to the women officers who have fought a long and hard battle before this Court to receive their just entitlement under the law. Even after the judgment in Nitisha case, the women officers have been compelled to move this Court repeatedly for the realization of their rights.”



The issue was the promotion of female Indian Army officers who had been granted Permanent Commissions in accordance with the Court’s decision in Nitisha case. They were not considered for promotion to Colonel by selection since their CRs were not taken into account. The CRs of the female officers were not evaluated because the cut-off date for CRs was the same as that of the male batches when they were considered by the No 3 Selection Board. As a result, all women officers’ CRs from the 1992 batch onwards till 2005 were not evaluated, and more recent CRs were removed. Women officers in the Indian Army, aggrieved, approached the Court.



The court has categorically said that the way in which the candidates were refused empanelment for the position of Colonel on a selection basis is arbitrary. Aside from violating the fundamental principles of fairness enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution, the entire approach has been inconsistent with both this Court’s decision in Nitisha and the applicable policy framework established by Army authorities.

The court also directed army officers to take the actions specified by the court. Therefore, the court disposed the application.


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Written by – Surya Venkata Sujith

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