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After military court’s intervention, IAF postpones discharge of woman officer on maternity leave

The case is related to Squadron Leader Anju Gehlot, a short service commissioned woman officer of the flying branch of the Indian Air Force.

ANI | New Delhi |

The Indian Air Force was releasing a woman officer currently on maternity leave after giving birth to a premature baby but changed its decision after the intervention of a military court in the case.

As per the counsel in the case, Colonel I S Singh (Retd), the case is related to Squadron Leader Anju Gehlot, a short service commissioned woman officer of the flying branch of the Indian Air Force. “She had approached the Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal as she was aggrieved by the order of the Air Force as she was being forcibly discharged from service prematurely on medical grounds on 23 December 2021 even as she is already on duly sanctioned maternity leave until 11 March next year,” he said.

The counsel stated that the woman officer had become a low medical category case which made her permanently unfit for flying duties, due to which she was assigned only ground duties since then.

“Thereafter, instead of transferring her to ground duties branch as per the existing provisions, she was subjected to an Invalidating Medical Board (IMB) in order to forcibly release her from service on medical grounds. Meanwhile, the competent Airforce authority granted her six months maternity leave up to 11 March 2022, as she delivered a premature baby in November this year.

In the meanwhile, the Air headquarters approved the IMB proceedings on 10 December 2021 and directed her to be released from service w.e.f. 23 December irrespective of she is on maternity leave until 11 March 2022. Her application to extend the date of her release until the expiry of her maternity leave was also rejected, following which she knocked at the doors of the Armed Forces Tribunal.

The AFT Principal bench headed by Chairman Justice Rajendra Menon (Retd) agreed with the plea of the woman officer to extend her release date and asked the IAF to reconsider her case.

The IAF agreed to the court’s request and stated in the court that she would be released only on March 11 next year after the completion of her maternity leave.