The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Army not to victimise a Lieutenant Colonel who had moved the court against her assignment at a place that does not have a crèche.
“Please make sure that she is not victimised for coming to the court. She has merely exercised her right,” a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud told Additional Solicitor General Madhvi Divan.
The bench wrapped up the matter after the ASG pointed out that there is a crèche available 15 minutes from the officer’s place of duty.
Divan said Lt Col Annu Dogra may put up her infant child in this crèche and discharge her official duties effectively.
She, however, said that since there is already a crèche in the vicinity, they are not inclined to attach Dogra’s husband, who is also an army officer and is deputy judge advocate general (JAG) in Jodhpur, with her at Kamptee in Nagpur.
Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for Dogra, accepted the suggestion but raised apprehension that the 39-year-old Dogra may be targeted for approaching the Supreme Court. Bhati added that there were indications of a possible court of inquiry against her.
At this, Justice Chandrachud asked the ASG to ensure that the woman officer is not victimised for filing her petition.
“We wanted a workable solution for her because she must also be able to tend to her infant child while discharging her duties,” the judge told the ASG. Divan, on her part, assured the bench that Dogra would not be victimised.
Bhati withdrew the petition from the court on a suggestion by the bench that there is no need to press the petition at this stage.
Dogra’s petition had questioned her temporary posting that requires her to travel from Jodhpur to Nagpur to conduct court martial proceeding.
The proceedings in Kamptee (Nagpur) deprive her of the fundamental right of tending to her infant child, her petition stated, adding the place of duty does not have family and community-based care arrangements, leading to neglect of her child.
Last week, the court had remarked that the army should provide a conducive work environment for its women officers, and pressed for a workable solution on humanitarian grounds.
Source: News 18