Women officers in the Indain armed forces may have inched towards permanent commission but it is still a long fight to get their legitimate dues rank and pay and they made their grievance loud and clear before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The court was hearing a petition of the defence ministry challenging a Delhi High Court directive to the army and the air force to grant permanent commission to women officers of the short service commission (SSC). The Navy and IAF agreed to grant permanent commission to women, the Army in the guise of pending appeal in the Supreme Court continued to discharge those women officers who had completed 14 years of service. It needed the apex court’s intervention again to set this right. The Supreme court on September 12 said the 11 officers who had been discharged must be taken back in terms of the High court order. The Army took them in, but the women officers to their dismay found that they were offered the same rank and pay, which they held one and a half years back at the time of their discharge from service. Their counsel Meenakshi Lekhi told a bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale that these officers, having been given the old rank and pay, were rendered junior to their subordinates who had got promotions. “Army being a rank based force, these lady officers have been put in a piquant situation” . The apex court by its March 4 order stayed the contempt proceedings but not the judgment of the high court, directing the absorption of SSC women officers on a permanent basis. The women officers, discharged from their service in 2009 when they were due to be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, are now upon the restoration of their service, working under the officers who were junior to them. The women officers had accused the Army of suffering from gender bias in not granting permanent commission to women who worked shoulder to shoulder with other similarly placed gentlemen officers in non-combat arms of armed forces.