Deccan Chronicle

Woman pilot sues IAF, calls denial of permanent commission 'biased'

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: July 14, 2016 | Updated on: July 14, 2016

Wing Commander Pooja Thakur had led the guard of honour for US President Barack Obama last year.

Wing Commander Pooja Thakur. (Photo: PTI)

Wing Commander Pooja Thakur. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: Wing Commander Pooja Thakur has moved the Armed Forces Tribunal after being denied permanent commission by the Indian Air Force.

She is the first lady officer to lead the Inter-Service Guard of Honour which was inspected by US President Barack Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan in January 2015.

Obama had said at an event later that the sight of "incredible" Indian women in the armed forces was one of his "favourite things" in India.

The Armed Forces Tribunal has admitted the matter and has sought IAF's response within 4 weeks, Thakur's Lawyer Sudhanshu Pandey said.

The officer in her petition says that the IAF's decision to reject her permanent commission is "biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable".

The incident comes after the Air Force recently allowed women fighter pilots for short service commission.

Last month, the IAF scripted history by formally commissioning its first three women fighter pilots, but as short service commission officers.

They will serve for a maximum period of 14 years and retire without benefits.

On the other hand, a permanent commission means that women get to serve the full period, and rise to the rank of Lieutenant General, retiring at 60 with all benefits accrued to Indian Air Force personnel. Presently, permanent commission is granted on a case-to-case basis.

Women were allowed in the Air Force as full officers in 2010 after nearly 50 women officers, including 22 from the IAF, moved court citing discrimination.  

Pooja Thakur joined the Air Force in 2000 and is the daughter of an army colonel.

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