The Delhi High Court has appointed Mr. Gautam Narayan, Additional Standing Counsel for Delhi as amicus curiae in the Petitions seeking recruitment of women in the Territorial Army as well as Judge Advocate General, which is the legal arm of the Indian Army.
The orders were issued by a Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar in the two separate Petitions filed by Mr. Kush Kalra.
Both the Petitions have been directed to be listed on 22 November.
Married women as Judge Advocate General
One of the Petitions demands that the eligibility conditions stipulated by the Judge Advocate General Department of the Indian Army, prohibiting entry of married female candidates in the JAG department, be declared as unconstitutional.
Currently, Judge Advocate General Department of Indian Army (IA) recruits only unmarried females for serving the Indian Army, while married males are eligible for recruitment. The petition contends that this “institutionalized discrimination” deprives married female law graduates of their right to serve in Judge Advocate General Department of Indian Army.
The discrimination on grounds of gender is argued to be violative of the Fundamental Right of equality before Law (Art 14), Right not to be discriminated on the ground of sex (Art 15), equality of opportunity in the matters of public employment (Art 16), and fundamental right to practice any profession and occupation and human rights of the women (Art 19 1 (g)).
Women in Territorial Army
The other Petition demands recruitment of gainfully employed women in the Territorial Army, which is an organization of volunteers who receive military training in order to be mobilized for the country's defence in case of an emergency.
The Petition submits that presently only gainfully employed men are recruited into the TA, the second line of defence after the regular Indian Army.
It calls it a "clear case of gender discrimination" and contends that "the work performed by Territorial army is for civilian good and by not allowing females to be a part of Territorial Army the army recruitment is acting unfair and bias towards whole female community."
Such discrimination, it further submits, "ends up victimizing its subject (women) in the name of protection".
Thereafter, demanding a change in the present scheme of recruitment, it contends, "In that regard the interference prescribed by state for pursuing the ends of protection should be proportionate to the legitimate aims. The standard for judging the proportionality should be a standard capable of being called reasonable in a modern democratic society. Instead of putting curbs on women's freedom, empowerment would be a more tenable and socially wise approach. This empowerment should reflect in the law enforcement strategies of the state as well as law modeling done in this behalf."