After winning a three-year-long court battle, women officers of the Air Force will now be accorded permanent commission for which an exercise has been initiated by the 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 told PTI here.
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 senior IAF officer said.
IAF 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 the IAF men.
Sources said the IAF decision on the High Court order came after India's Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam had advised against an appeal and asked the IAF to go by the court directive.
However, the Army's position on the court orders is still 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 from the government."
However, the court had disallowed the women officer's plea to be allowed in combat roles in the armed forces.
"There are also male officers performing the same task. If the male officers can be granted permanent commission while performing those tasks, there is no reason why equally capable women officers cannot be granted Permanent Commission.
It is not a charity being sought by the women officers but enforcement of their own Constitutional rights," the court had said.
It rejected the plea of the government that Permanent Commission be allowed only for future recruits, a decision taken by the government in 2009, as the benefit could not be accorded retrospectively for serving and retired lady officers who had approached the court.