Woman IAF officer moves Tribunal for permanent commission

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Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, who caught the nation’s eye by leading the Guard of Honour for U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit last year, has moved the Armed Forces Tribunal, demanding permanent commission into the Indian Air Force.In her petition, Ms. Thakur has claimed that IAF’s decision to deny her a permanent commission is “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable.” The tribunal has admitted the matter, and has asked for IAF’s response. After completing the maximum allowed 14 years under short service, Mr. Thakur applied for permanent commission. The IAF turned it down, prompting her to move the Tribunal.
With publicity cell
Ms. Thakur joined IAF in 2000 and was part of the administrative branch. She is currently posted at ‘Disha’, the publicity cell under the Directorate of Personnel Officers in New Delhi. She was recently part of the team that developed the IAF mobile game ‘Guardians of the Sky’, which is meant to attract youngsters into the force. Ms. Thakur grabbed national attention when she became the first woman officer to lead an inter-services Guard of Honour for President Obama in January last year. The U.S. President had then said the sight of Indian women in the armed forces was one of his “favourite things.” Ms. Thakur had then told reporters, “It feels good that we have been able to achieve our aim of giving him [Mr. Obama] a befitting Guard of Honour. I am glad that he has appreciated.” IAF sources said when Ms. Thakur completed 10 years as a short service commission officer, she was given three options — to leave IAF, seek a four-year extension or opt for permanent commission. She took the second option. However, when she was about to retire in June, she asked for permanent commission, they insist. The case comes at a time when all three services are offering permanent commission to women in select arms.

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