Taking strong exception to its orders not being implemented, the Delhi High Court on Friday slapped contempt notices against Defence Secretary and Indian Air Force for not granting permanent commission(PC) to serving women officers.
Justice G S Sistani issued show cause notices to Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Air Marshal K J Mathews, Air Officer Personnel, and sought their response by December 14 on a contempt petition filed by a group of nine serving IAF women officers.
Appearing for the officers, counsel Rekha Palli assisted by Punam Singh submitted that they were only granted extension in service but there was no response to their representations for permanent commission following the court's direction.
On March 12, a Division Bench of High Court, while considering the plea of women officers for parity with their male colleagues in the defence forces, had said, "the women officers in Air Force who had opted for PC but granted extension of Short Service Commission(SSC) and of the Army are entitled to PC at par with male Short Service Commissioned officers with all consequential benefits".
The counsel claimed that these officers have served the nation for 15 years and the High Court while disposing of their petitions in March had specifically directed that "the serving officers who wish to be considered for PC ought to be extended the benefit of grant of permanent commission."
According to the officers, following the court's ruling, they had sent their representations seeking grant of PC to them in June and July but have received no response so far.
In a communication, the IAF said the High Court directive applied to on those women officers who had opted for PC at various stages in their career.
It said only 44 women officers fall under the purview of the judgement and of them 23 have retired and the remaining are serving.
A detailed plan for the re-instatement of the retired officer has been formulated, the IAF said adding that while 21 of them opted for PC, the remaining two were not inclined.
For the remaining serving officers, a human resource policy is under formulation, the IAF said in its August two communication.
In all there are 2,200 women officers including 1,200 in army, 763 in airforce and 250 in navy, according to Defence Ministry figures.