Pooja Thakur rose to fame as she led a Guard of Honour when President Obama visited India.
New Delh: Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, who led the Guard of Honour during US President Barack Obama’s visit here last year, on Thursday moved the Armed Forces Tribunal here after being denied a permanent commission by IAF.
Her lawyer has claimed that IAF has a "dual policy" of permanent commission when it comes to men and women, a charge strongly denied by sources in the armed force that is the first to ever allow female officers in combat role.
The tribunal has admitted the matter and has sought IAF’s response, Thakur’s lawyer Sudhanshu Pandey said. Later in the day, he clarified that the case should not be seen from the prism of any gender bias.
Pooja changed mind 10 days before quitting
Giving details, the IAF sources said that permanent commission is not something which is doled out. They underlined that an officer, man or woman, has to first willingly seek for permanent commission and then has to meet the laid down criteria.
They said 37-year-old Thakur was commissioned into the Administration Branch on June 16, 2001 and that time an officer of the Short Service Comm-ission could serve for five years and then opt for another six years, as per rules framed on November 25, 1991.
Interestingly, in July 2015, for undisclosed reasons, Thakur put in an application for premature separation from the force which she said would be effective from January 2016. However, in December last year she changed her mind and said she wants to continue till her retirement in June 2016, a request which was accepted by the IAF.
Thakur, who is currently undergoing pre-release course at MDI Gurgaon which is funded largely by IAF, put in an application about 10 days prior to her retirement seeking permanent commission, which the IAF rejected as there are no scope for such last mind change of mind.