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SC Warns Centre in Coast Guard Case: ‘If You Can’t, We Will…’

The Supreme Court today issued an ultimatum to the Centre on the matter of providing permanent commissions to female Coast Guard personnel, saying “women cannot be left out” and “if you do not do it, we will do it”. “All of these arguments about functionality, etc., are not valid in 2024. Women cannot be left out. If you don’t do it, we will. So have a look at it,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud instructed the Centre’s lawyer, Attorney General R Venkataramani. The Centre’s attorney stated that he will request that the Coast Guard provide an affidavit.

The judge scheduled the next hearing for March 1. The petition in the issue was made by a female officer of the Coast Guard. It seeks permanent commission for eligible women officers joining the force under short service commission. The Attorney General has argued that the Coast Guard is different from the Navy and Army.

The Centre was pulled up during the previous hearing in the matter on February 19. The Chief Justice had then asked why there was an “indifference” with regard to the Coast Guard. “Why don’t you want women in the Coast Guard? If women can guard the borders, they can also guard the beaches. You talk about Nari Shakti, show it here,” he had said.

The court had questioned the “patriarchal” mindset opposing induction of women into the force. “You have women in the Navy, so what’s special about the Coast Guard. We will open up the whole canvas. Gone are the days when we said that women cannot be a part of the Coast Guard,” the Chief Justice had said.

The petitioner, Priyanka Tyagi, had earlier approached the Delhi High Court, but did not get relief. In her petition, she has pointed to the Supreme Court judgments on permanent commission for women in the Army and Navy.

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