Wing Commander Pooja Thakur Drags IAF To Court after being denied permanent commission

New Delhi, July 14 – Wing Commander Pooja Thakur, who led the Guard of Honour during US President Barack Obama’s visit here last year, has moved the Armed Forces Tribunal here after being denied a permanent commission by IAF.

A Permanent commission would allow one to retire at 60 years of age with full benefits and would also enable them to be promoted to Lieutenant General.

In her petition, the officer has claimed that IAF’s decision to deny her permanent commission is “biased, discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable”.

The tribunal has admitted the matter and has sought IAF’s response within four weeks, Thakur’s lawyer Sudhanshu Pandey said.

“IAF says Pooja Thakur was offered permanent commission in 2012, she declined it then and it can be offered only once. No new offer can be given,” said her lawyer.

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“She had said no only because she was temporarily not willing at the time,” he added.

Thakur led an Inter-Service Guard of Honour last year when President Obama visited India in January.

Obama had said later said the sight of “incredible” Indian women in the armed forces was one of his “favourite things” in India.

Thakur had then said, “It feels good that we have been able to achieve our aim of giving him a befitting Guard of Honour. I am glad that he has appreciated.”

The defence forces, in a first, had chosen women officers to lead their marching contingents during the Republic Day parade last year.

Thakur, who joined IAF in 2000, belongs to the administrative branch and is currently posted at ‘Disha’, the publicity cell under the Directorate of Personnel Officers at the Air Force Headquarters.

As part of her duty, she was involved with the initiation and development of the IAF mobile game “Guardians of the Sky” which was visualised as a new and innovative step to reach the mobile-friendly tech-savvy students.

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