‘You Speak of Nari Shakti, Now Show it Here’: SC Criticizes Centre for Denial of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Indian Coast Guard


The Supreme Court rebuked the Centre and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) for refusing permanent commission to its women officers and insisted that the maritime force devise a policy treating women “equitably”.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by woman officer Priyanka Tyagi seeking the grant of permanent commission to eligible women short service commission officers of the ICG.

“You speak of ‘nari shakti’ (woman power). Now show it here. You are in the deep end of the sea in this matter. You must come up with a policy which treats women fairly,” a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud along with justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra remarked.

The bench inquired whether the Union persisted with “a patriarchal approach” despite prior judgments of the top court regarding the grant of permanent commission to women officers in the Army, Air Force, and Navy.

“Why are you clinging to a patriarchal mindset? Do you wish to exclude women from the coast guard?” the bench queried Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, representing the ICG.

The bench noted that the petitioner was the sole SSC woman officer seeking permanent commission and questioned why her case had not been considered.

“Now, the Coast Guard must devise a policy,” the bench asserted. It directed the law officer to examine the judgments granting permanent commission to women officers in the three defense services.

The bench also inquired about the existence of a provision for permanent commission for women in the Coast Guard.

Upon learning that a 10 percent permanent commission could be granted to women officers, the bench questioned, “Why only 10 percent… are women deemed inferior?”

It questioned why the ICG was not granting them permanent commission when the Indian Navy was doing so. It urged the Centre to develop a gender-neutral policy on the issue.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte