After winning a three-year-long court battle, women officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will now be accorded permanent commission, the exercise for which has already been initiated by IAF.
“Yes, we have already started the process for according permanent commission to women officers in accordance with the Delhi High Court orders,” a senior IAF officer said.
The court orders came in March this year on a petition from 22 IAF and another 30-odd Army women officers, who accused the government of discriminating against them vis-a-vis their male counterparts.
“All the 22 women officers, who had gone to the court, will be given permanent commission,” the officer said.
Sources said the force had already issued offer letters to these women officers asking if they would be interested in a permanent commission.
With this offer, women officers would get an opportunity to rise up to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at the age of 60 along with retirement and other benefits, similar to their male counterparts.
The IAF decision on the High Court order came after India’s Solicitor General, Gopal Subramaniam, advised against an appeal and asked the IAF to go by the court directive, the source added.
However, the Army’s position on the court orders is not clear, as they “are still studying the orders” and preparing their response, according to officers in the Army headquarters here.
In their landmark judgement favouring women serving in the defence forces, including those who had retired while the plea was being heard, the division bench of Justices S K Kaul and M P Garg had directed the government to grant permanent commission to them, saying they “deserve better.”
However, the court had disallowed the women officer’s plea to be allowed in combat roles in the armed forces.