The air force wants women officers to get a higher score than their male counterparts for a permanent tenure. The Supreme Court has taken strong exception to the “bias” and summoned senior officers.
The court has given the Indian Air Force a chance to correct the discrimination by bringing down the qualifying marks to 6.5 for women as well. The case will now be heard on March 26.
Women are still fighting to get their due five years after the Delhi high court ordered permanent commission for those joining the armed forces through the Short Service Commission.
When the IAF failed to comply with the ruling, some officers moved a contempt petition that was disposed of in May 2011 after the force assured the high court of implementing the order.
“But in November, a new policy raising the bar for minimum qualification was introduced,” Rekha Palli, the lawyer for the women officers, said. It required women to get a score of at least 7 for a permanent commission while male officers of the same batch were promoted if they got a rating of 6.5.
The scores are decided on the basis of officers’ annual performance.
Some women officers challenged the policy in the high court, which asked the IAF to follow the same criterion as was in the case of male officers. The bar couldn’t be raised for women officers, the court said.
Hearing the IAF’s appeal against the order, a Supreme Court bench headed by justice Vikramjit Sen asked Air Marshall (personnel) to appear in person on March 26. His predecessor, who is retired, has also been summoned the same day.