Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, who led the Guard of Honour during US President Barack Obama’s visit last year, has moved court after the Indian Air Force denied her permanent commission.
Thakur has described IAF’s decision as “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable”.
The Armed Forces Tribunal in Delhi has admitted the matter and has sought IAF’s response, Thakur’s lawyer Sudhanshu Pandey said.
Permanent commission means women officers get an opportunity to rise to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at 60 with full benefits like the men do.
However, each branch of the IAF has different criteria to grant women permanent commission and it is done on a case-to-case basis.
Last year, US President Obama praised Thakur when she led an Inter-Service Guard of Honour. Obama said the sight of “incredible” Indian women in the armed forces was one of his “favourite things” in India. She hoped that the incident inspired more women to join the armed forces in the country.
The defence forces, in a first, had chosen women officers to lead their marching contingents during the Republic Day parade last year.
The daughter of an army colonel, the Rajasthan officer joined the Air Force in 2000. As part of her duty, she was involved with the initiation and development of the IAF mobile game “Guardians of the Sky” which was visualised as a new and innovative step to reach the mobile-friendly tech-savvy students.
Thakur joined the IAF in 2000 and belongs to the administrative branch.