Fact-check: Smriti Irani is wrong in her attack on Rahul Gandhi, her government indeed opposed permanent commission for women officer in Supreme Court


Union Minister Smriti Irani is facing social media roasting for her tweet calling Congress MP Rahul Gandhi ‘Abdullah Diwaaney‘ over the Supreme Court’s ruling ordering the central government to grant permanent commission to women officers in the army. Combative Congress workers have targeted Irani advising her to check facts before attacking their leader.

Smriti Irani

Reacting to the government’s stand on the issue of the permanent commission of women officers in the army’s non-combatant support units, Gandhi had tweeted, “The Govt disrespected every Indian woman, by arguing in the SC that women Army officers didn’t deserve command posts or permanent service because they were inferior to men. I congratulate India’s women for standing up & proving the BJP Govt wrong.”

Gandhi’s attack against the Centre’s Narendra Modi government evoked an angry response from Irani, who wrote on Twitter, “Honourable Begani Shaadi me Abdullah Diwaaney, It was PM @narendramodi Ji who announced Permanent Commission for Women in Armed Forces, thereby ensuring gender justice & @BJPMahilaMorcha took up this issue when your Govt. twiddled its thumbs. Ask your team to check before tweeting.”

However, her attack did not go down well with Congress workers, who were quick to remind Irani that she was not aware of the facts. A Congress functionary, Ruchira Chaturvedi, quoted Irani’s tweet along with a link to an India Today story as she wrote, “Honourable licking your own spit, Your govt OPPOSED Permanent Commission for women officers in the Supreme Court. SC blasted you for being anti-women. Now you’re wanting to take credit? Waah! Before you tweet, ask your team to do a fact-check.”

Contrary to Irani’s claims, her government had indeed opposed the permanent commission for women officers in the army. The central government had told the court that ‘women officers must deal with pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families and may not be well suited to the life of a soldier in the armed forces.’

According to the Livelaw website, the Centre’s argument against the permanent commission of women officers also included, the ‘physiological limitations’ of women officers that, according to the government, are accentuated by challenges of confinement, motherhood and child care. The government also told the top court that the deployment of women  officers was not advisable in areas where members of the armed forces were confronted with ‘minimal facility for habitat and hygiene.’

Dismissing the Modi government’s appeal against the Delhi High Court verdict in the matter, Justice DY Chandrachud slammed the arguments made by the government’s lawyer adding that they perpetuated ‘gender stereotypes.’

Livelaw is arguably one of the most reliable websites on legal reporting. Other news outlets too reported on how the top court had slammed the government’s stand on permanent commission to women officers in the army. If Irani claims that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who first announced the permanent commission for women in the armed forces, then why would the same government make desperate arguments against it in the country’s highest court?