SC allows women to take NDA exams

SC allows women to take NDA exams

New Delhi: In an interim order that could help women to serve in the Indian army, the Supreme Court has allowed women candidates to take the entrance test for admission to National Defence Academy (NDA). 

Court has slammed the Centre for its gender discrimination, not allowing women to serve in the Indian armed forces. Court has observed that mindset problem in the authorities concerned to give equal opportunity for men and women to serve Indian Army. Court has also suggested the government change its mindset. Court order would persuade the Indian Army to initiate to change its mindset of its own rather than compulsion to do so because of a direction from the court. 

“This is nothing but mindset problem, you (government) better to change it. Don’t compel us to pass orders. This policy decision is based on gender discrimination. We direct the respondents to take a constructive view of the matter in view of the judgement of this court”, the division bench observed. 

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A division bench headed by Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy expressed anguish over the government for not allowing women to take entrance exams in NDA. Despite the previous verdict of this court directing the government to provide equal opportunities to women in defence, the government has not implemented the order, the court observed. 

"The endeavour is to persuade the Army to do things itself... We would prefer if the Army did somethings itself, rather than us passing orders,", the bench remarked. 

The court was hearing the petition that argued that the categorical exclusion of eligible female candidates from the NDA was unconstitutional and done entirely on the basis of their sex.

Male candidates recruited through the NDA exam are presently granted permanent commission in India's armed forces; however, women candidates are recruited as Short Service Commission Officers before being considered for a permanent commission at a later stage of their careers.

Citing the court's earlier ruling, the bench questioned Additional Solicitor General that, “why are you continuing in this direction? Even after Justice Chandrachud's judgement expanding the horizons and extending Permanent Commission in the Army to women? This is unfounded... We are finding it absurd”, the division bench said.