New Delhi: Women can join and serve in Territorial Army (TA), in its railway engineer regiments, and will also be considered for honorary commissions, the Centre has told the Delhi High Court.
The government has made the submission in an affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal which is hearing a PIL seeking recruitment of women in TA, which is the second line of defence after the regular army.
The bench will hear the matter on September 22. TA is an organisation of volunteers who receive military training in order to be mobilised for the country’s defence in case of an emergency.
The Centre has said there is no discrimination in the selection procedure, eligibility criteria and terms of service of women candidates or officers in TA. “The women officers in TA have been promoted to the rank of Brigadier, which is the highest rank applicable to TA officers,” the affidavit said.
With regard to TA’s 2015 recruitment advertisement, which mentioned only gainfully employed men and not women, the affidavit has said the advertisement was for grant of commission in infantry units of TA.
It has also said that recruitment of men in infantry units of TA is a policy decision taken as per the Territorial Army Act and the policy can be amended only if the law was amended.
With regard to the honorary commissions given to some politicians, celebrities and sportspersons, the government has said such people receive no financial benefit nor do they perform any military duties or command troops. Instead they act as “brand ambassadors” of the army to motivate the youth to join the armed forces.
This provision was initially applicable to male citizens only, but the TA Directorate decided to amend the policy and as on date, both men and women can be considered for grant of honorary commissions, the affidavit said.