The Supreme Court recognises indirect discrimination

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In 2020 Supreme Court delivered judgment that the Indian Army’s policy of denying women officers a permanent commission was discriminatory. Following this judgement the union government put into place a procedure for the grant of permanent commission to eligible women officers. The result of this process that involved 615 eligible women officers spurred a second round of litigation before the supreme court.

The implementation of the Babita Puniya judgement had also been discriminatory. The importance of Lt. Col. Nitisha lies in the fact that the criteria for grant of permanent commission to women were facially neutral but found to be indirectly discriminatory. This marks the first occasion that the supreme court has categorically held indirect discrimination to violate the constitution and set out an account of what indirect discrimination entails.

In this case said that case marks an important advance in its acknowledgement, recognition and articulation of indirect discrimination under the Indian constitution.