The SC ruling on pensions for women IAF officers

Source: The post is based on the article “The SC ruling on pensions for women IAF officers” published in The Hindu on 23rd November.

What is the News?

The Supreme Court asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to consider the grant of pensionary benefits to 32 Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers.

About the recent court judgement

The women officers had joined the service between 1993-1998 and were granted extensions of six and four years successively before being released from service between 2006 to 2009. But they neither get any pensionary benefits nor are considered under permanent commission. So a case has been filed in court.

The court held that a) These women SSC officers had the legitimate expectation of being granted an opportunity to claim permanent commission in terms of the prevailing policy. b) These women SSC officers be considered for grant of pensionary benefits.

About women’s participation in the defence sector

Women serve as medical doctors and dentists in the Indian armed forces. Only women serve as nurses in Military Nursing Service. But, women are being inducted as jawans in the Corps of Military Police since 2019.

National Defence Academy (NDA) has started inducting women cadets from the Autumn 2022 term.

The Navy has also opened 12 branches, cadres and specialisations for women officers. It has already announced that women would be inducted as Agniveers under the Agnipath scheme.

In Air Force, women serve in all arms and services as officers in the IAF akin to their male counterparts.

What were the Supreme Court’s judgements on women officers in the defence sector?

Babita Puniya case, 2020: In this case, the Supreme Court directed that women officers in the Army should be granted permanent commission (PC) as well as command postings in all services other than combat.

Lt. Col. Nitisha vs. Union of India case, 2021: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the Army’s selective evaluation process discriminated against and disproportionately affected women officers seeking a permanent commission.

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