Wing Commander Pooja Thakur sues IAF

New Delhi : Wing Commander Pooja Thakur has moved the armed forces tribunal after being denied permanent commission by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Thakur’s lawyer Sudhanshu Pandey told ANI it is wrong on part of the Air Force to deny her permanent commission for which she is entitled.

“The Air Force has on the basis of a policy stated that she is not entitled for permanent commission. The policy is their own local policy as the government did not give any decision about it. They did not offer her permanent commission in 2006 which they should have, but when the High Court passed the order in 2010 they offered her the same,” said Pandey.

“At that time, her personal situation was such that she could not decide and that is why she requested the Air Force to change her option. They denied it to her and that is why we have filed a petition,” he added.

Thakur’s lawyer expressed hope that the court understands their stand and pronounces a favourable judgement.

Responding to the poser as to what does the present policy state, Pandey said, “HRP3 of 2011 states that for permanent commission, you have to show your willingness for once and if you don’t give your willingness that time, there is a gap in the policy.

“According to the policy, you will be given chance only once, whereas the HRP of male officers does not have any condition like that,” Pandey explained.

When asked about the Centre’s stand on the issue, Pandey responded, “The Central Government can always take a decision for officers, who have represented the Air Force, India Army as well as nation. Women like her should be given importance in the nation for her achievements. And according to me, the government should ensure that she is given the permanent commission.”

The officer says in a petition that the IAF’s decision to deny her permanent commission is “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable”.

The Air Force has been asked to respond in four weeks.

Wing Commander Thakur was the first woman officer to lead an Inter-Service Guard of Honour last year when U.S. President Barak Obama visited India for the Republic Day parade.

Permanent commission means the women officers get an opportunity to rise to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at 60 with full benefits like the men do.

The women were allowed in the Air Force as full officers in 2010 after nearly 50 women officers, including 22 from the IAF, moved the court against discrimination. (ANI)