Female officers have long campaigned for this change, which will allow them to serve a full tenure and achieve a higher rank, with greater salary and leadership potential. Currently, women are inducted into the army through short service commissions, which only permit them to serve for 10 to 14 years.
“This change will lift up women — not just in the army but all girls across the country and the world,” said Lt. Col. Seema Singh to reporters after the court ruling.
Though the court’s ruling does not permit women to serve in army combat units, like the infantry or artillery corps, they are now eligible to command entire battalions or head the intelligence department. Promotions to command positions will be considered on a case-by-case case basis, said Archana Pathak Dave, one of the lawyers representing the female officers.
The decision comes after the government told the court that female officers were not physically and physiologically suitable to hold permanent commissions in the armed forces.
“Women officers must deal with pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families and may not be well suited to the life of a soldier in the armed forces,” the central government stated.