‘Coarse gender discrimination’: SC on termination of woman from army on marriage

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court has ordered the Defence Ministry to pay compensation of Rs 60 lakh to a Permanent Commissioned Officer who was released from the Army on ground of her marriage.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta said that termination of employment because the woman has got married is a coarse case of gender discrimination and inequality, adding that acceptance of such patriarchal rule undermines human dignity, right to non-discrimination and fair treatment.

“Laws and regulations based on gender-based bias are constitutionally impermissible. Rules making marriage of women employees and their domestic involvement a ground for disentitlement would be unconstitutional,” the bench said.

Disposing of the appeal filed by the Centre, the apex court refused to interfere with the decision of the Armed Forces Tribunal which had held the release of Lt. Selina John – a Permanent Commissioned Officer – from the Military Nursing Service was wrong and illegal.

It noted that the Army, in 1995, withdrew its Instruction titled “Terms and conditions of service for the grant of permanent commissions in the Military Nursing Service”.

“We direct the appellant(s) to pay compensation of Rs 60,00,000 (rupees sixty lakh only) to the respondent – Ex. Lt. Selina John within a period of eight weeks…In case the payment is not made within a period of eight weeks, the appellant(s) will pay interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum,” the apex court ordered.



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