In a relief to 14 Indian Air Force (IAF) women officers who had served for maximum tenure of 15 years under the short service commission scheme (SSC) the force on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it would reinstate them under the permanent commission (PC).
Additional solicitor general Paras Kuhad, however, told the bench headed by Justice RM Lodha the reinstatement would be an interim measure until SC pronounced its final verdict on the petitions filed by these officers against the IAF’s decision to deny them PC. Kuhad further added that the women would not seek seniority or financial benefits retrospectively.
Though the bench recorded Kuhad’s undertaking, it was critical of the classification done by the forces to deny the petitioners PC.
“Such a classification between those who have approached and those who haven’t isn’t right. You are simply multiplying litigation in the court and this is against public policy,” the bench, also comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Madan B Lokur, said.
It further added the classification cannot be a basis for denying the benefit of the HC judgment to the petitioners.
Though the women officers welcomed the partial relief, they were hopeful that SC would in its final verdict also decide the issue of seniority.
“Money is not so important for us. But, seniority is as it would be hard to work as a junior under an officer from a junior batch,” said a woman officer.