Indian Navy set to open up its ‘men-only’ police branch to women

Indian Navy set to open up its ‘men-only’ police branch to women
23-April 2020 2.00

Indian Navy set to open up its ‘men-only’ police branch to women officers, seeks volunteers


Indian Navy’s latest move may be the first step to open up more branches to women officers. The Indian Navy has sought volunteers for its police branch, Provost, from among its women officers. The branch has so far been an exclusive preserve of male officers.

Know About Provost

Provost is a non-sea-going cadre, so compulsory sea service will not be a criterion for promotions as in the case of other executive branches- A senior Naval Officer told The Print on the condition of anonymity.

The officer said the move is seen as another step towards grant of permanent commission to women officers across branches, including consequent promotions, as Provost Officer have the opportunity to perform well and attain promotion up to the rank of a Commodore.

The move has come within weeks of the Supreme Court’s ruling to grant Permanent Commission to Women Officers in the Navy. On 17 March, the court upheld a 2015 verdict of the Delhi High Court and outlawed gender discrimination towards women officers during the grant of permanent commission in the Indian Navy.

Provost appointments

The Navy has sought applications from officers, men and women, by May, according to sources in the force.

  1. Unlike primary branches, the recruitment of Naval Provost officers is not advertised.
  2. Existing commissioned officers are selected on a volunteer basis for a specialised course at INS Mandovi, the Provost training school.
  3. After the completion of the course, the officers are appointed to the Provost at various bases of the Navy.
  4. The women volunteers for the Provost, if any, will be Short Service Commission (SSC) officers.
  5. SSC women officers can also serve in the musician cadre and sports cadre, a second Navy officer said.


At present, women officers in the Navy serve in many cadres, including three where they have the option for choosing permanent commission.

Last year, a woman officer graduated the pilot’s course to be the first woman pilot of Dornier. Women officers also serve in operational appointments as ‘Observers’ in the Navy’s maritime reconnaissance aircraft like P8i, IL-38 and Dornier.

There are over 639 women personnel in the Navy, including 148 medical officers and two dental officers.


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