Supreme Court directs Air Force to grant pension to 32 women officers in landmark judgement
The officers had joined the Air Force as Short Service Commission officers, and were not considered for Permanent Commission.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Indian Air Force to provide pensions to 32 women Short Service Commission officers who were not considered for the granting of Permanent Commission, The Hindu reported.
The court noted that the petitioners had been fighting the case for 12 years for a chance to be considered for permanent commission.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala directed the Air Force to grant pension to the women officers after deeming them to have completed 20 years of service.
The court also ordered it to pay arrears of pension from the dates when the women were deemed to have completed 20 years of service. The bench, however, clarified that the officers would not be entitled to arrears of their salary, according to Live Law.
The women who approached the Supreme Court had joined the Air Force between 1993 and 1998 as Short Service Commission officers. They were released from service between December 2006 and December 2009.
The petitioners included three women who had lost their husbands in the line of duty, and were granted commission into the Air Force on compassionate grounds.
The officers were appointed on the basis of an advertisement from November 25, 1991. The advertisement had stated that they would be granted Short Service Commission for five years, and then would be considered for Permanent Commission.
However, according to the petition filed by the women, the Air Force did not consider them for Permanent Commission, but extended their period of service by six years.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday took note of the statements made in the advertisement from 1991. It held that the officers were entitled to relief, but not in the form of reinstatement.
“They have put in long years of service for IAF,” the court said. “During the course of the hearing the Court has been apprised by IAF that the officers have an excellent track record.”
One of the officers, Ruchita Karthikeyan, remarked that the Supreme Court judgement means a lot to the officers, NDTV reported.
“It has been a long, long fight, she said. “A reinstatement would have been better for us, especially for me, being a widow of an Air Force officer. For me this battle has been twofold – within a year of leaving the Air Force I lost my husband.”