Nagpur: Justice BP Dharmadhikari, Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) inaugurated a daylong symposium on “Dimensions of Gender Justice – Armed Forces : A Legal Prospective at Institute of Military Law, Kamptee on 04 Sep 2015. The symposium was conducted to commemorate Silver Jubilee celebration of Army Training Command (ARTRAC).
During his inaugural address Justice Dharmadhikari, explained that equality means equal opportunities without any gender bias. He put up thought provoking situation to the audience and the symposium. He cited the example of battlefield as a workplace where bullets are flying in all directions. Such a situation in context of gender equality will need a careful interpretation of law and wondered whether it will be considered as a contingency. He hoped that the symposium would surely address the issues of sexual harassment at workplace and child abuse.
Earlier Maj Gen VC Chitravanshi VSM, ADG (Litigation), Army HQ, New Delhi intimated the august gathering that the symposium would give a better understanding of the recent laws on subject.
Maj Gen NS Rao, Commandant, NCC OTA recommended that IML should prepare handouts on laws and issues related to gender justice, which may be made available on website for ready reference and also to be distributed to Commandants and Staff Officers at various levels.
ARTRAC carries out the yeomen task of training officers and men in various fields of combat training. Col Sandeep Kumar, Commandant, IML explained that fundamental philosophy of ARTRAC is “No Soldier or Officer should ever lose his life or limbs in combat, because he was inadequately trained.” That is the essence of the training in the Indian Army. With this aim & objective in mind, ARTRAC came into being on 01 Oct 1991 at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh. Subsequently on 31 March 1993, Headquarters ARTRAC was shifted to Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh from where it is functioning & successfully creating Scholar Warriors ever since. Presently, ARTRAC is commanded by Lt Gen P M Hariz, SM, VSM who overtook the command on 01 Aug 2015. The General Offr is an alumnus of NDA, Khadakvasla & was commissioned into Mechanized Inf Bn, 16 MAHAR(Para) on 10 June 1978.
The Seminar was attended by Senior Officers from JAG Br from Army Headquarters and various Command Zones, Civil Dignitaries including eminent Jurists, Professors & Students from Law Colleges, Nagpur, Judges from Bombay High Court of Judicature (Nagpur Bench), Officers from Air Force Maintenance Command, Nagpur and Station Officers. The scope of the seminar was to address issues specially connected and falling under POCSO Act, 2012 and Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Work Places Act (Women Act), 2013, with special reference to ‘Procedural safeguards & conduct of proceedings under Army Act.’ Gender inequalities throughout the world are amongst the most all-pervasive forms of inequality. Gender equality concerns each & every member of the society & forms the very basis of just societies & hence, the issue of Gender Justice is of enormous magnitude & immense importance. The days of yore when women were treated as fragile, feeble, dependent & subordinate to men, should be a matter of history. Gender equality & women empowerment are the call of the day & attempts should be made to achieve satisfactory results. Everybody should be prepared to fight for the idea and actualize the conceptual vision in practicality. The mandate of POCSO Act, 2012 under Sec 43, casts a duty on Central Government & State Governments to take measures to give vide publicity to the provisions of the Act and impart periodic training on the related matters. Similarly under Women Act, 2013, Sec 24 cast a duty on Govt. to take measures to publicize the Act through info, education on training awareness and orientation on programmes. The seminar especially focused on applicability and implementation of these acts in army environment and to formulate guidelines to streamline the processing of these cases.
The symposium proceedings are being conducted by Capt Saloni Parmar. It is interesting to note that all the four instructors posted at IML, other than the Commandant himself, are women officers.