The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the release of ten women naval officers, who are seeking grant of permanent commission (PC), from the services as scheduled on December 31 this year.

A vacation bench comprising justices Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose took note of the submissions of senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the women naval officers, and granted the interim relief.

In the proceedings conducted through video conferencing, the bench said the Centre and the Chief of Naval Staff can file their replies to the petitions of the women officers and fixed their pleas for further hearing on January 19.

"We will direct that the matter be listed on January 19 along with pending writ petitions. In the meanwhile, there will be a stay on order of December 18 (on release/retirement of women officers)," it said.

The bench said the interim order would not result in any equity in favour of the officers.

Senior Advocate R Balasubramanian appeared for the Centre in the matters.

The two separate petitions have been filed by ten women Short Service Commission (SSC) officers including Annie Nagaraj and CDR Vijayeta seeking grant of permanent commission in the Indian Navy. They were to be released from services on December 31.

Earlier, the top court, in a landmark verdict on March 17 this year, had asked the Centre and the Navy to grant PC to Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers in the Indian Navy and had asked them to complete the modalities within three months.

Later, it extended till December 31 the deadline for implementation of its judgement on grant of PC to women SSC officers in Navy after the Centre had moved the plea in June for extending the deadline by six months citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to this, the apex court, on February 17, had granted the same relief of PC to SSC women officers in Army saying that women and men officers should be treated equally.