After a military court intervened in the case, the Indian Air Force changed its mind about releasing a woman officer who was on maternity leave after giving birth to a preterm baby.
According to the lawsuit’s attorney, Colonel I S Singh (Retd), the case concerns Squadron Leader Anju Gehlot, a short-service commissioned woman officer in the Indian Air Force’s flying branch. “She had approached the Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal because she was aggrieved by the Air Force’s order that she would be forcibly discharged from service on medical grounds on December 23, 2021, despite the fact that she was already on duly sanctioned maternity leave until March 11, next year,” he said.
The woman officer had become a low medical category case, which rendered her permanently incapable of flying responsibilities, and she had been allocated exclusively ground duties since then, according to the lawyer.
“Instead of being transferred to the ground duties branch as required by law, she was submitted to an Invalidating Medical Board (IMB) in order to forcibly discharge her from duty on medical grounds.” Meanwhile, because she gave birth to a premature baby in November, the competent Airforce authorities awarded her six months of maternity leave, which will last until March 11, 2022.
Meanwhile, on December 10, 2021, Air Headquarters accepted the IMB proceedings and ordered her to be removed from service effective December 23, despite the fact that she was on maternity leave until March 11, 2022. Her request to extend her release date until the conclusion of her maternity leave was also denied, so she went to the Armed Forces Tribunal.
The AFT Principal bench, led by Chairman Justice Rajendra Menon (Retd), agreed to the lady officer’s request to have her release date extended and urged the IAF to reexamine her case. The IAF consented to the court’s request and declared in court that she would be released only when her maternity leave was over on March 11 of next year.