SC pushes Centre to allow women cadets to join NDA from this year
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to accept the Centre's request to allow women candidates to appear for the entrance exam to the NDA from next year, saying it doesn't want women to be denied their right. The induction of women cannot be posted by one year, it said.
"We gave hope to the girls. We cannot deny them that hope now," said the judges.
The Centre had told the top court that a notification allowing women candidates to appear for the entrance exam to the National Defence Academy will be out by May next year.
A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said the armed forces are the best response team to deal with emergency situations and it is hopeful that necessary arrangements will be put in place to pave the way for the induction of women in NDA without delay.
It said the needful should be done by the defence department in collaboration with the UPSC.
The top court noted the submissions made by senior advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, appearing on behalf of the petitioner Kush Kalra, and said that it cannot postpone the induction of women by one year.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati submitted that a study group has been formed to facilitate the entry of women, and the necessary mechanism to facilitate that can be put in place by May 2022.
The ASG sought to skip the next NDA entrance examination, scheduled to be held on November 14.
"We appreciate your problems. I'm sure you people are capable of finding solutions. Let us see the results. The planning can go on...It is difficult for us to accept this submission from the Centre in view of the aspirations of the candidates willing to take the exam.
"Armed services have dealt with very difficult situations. To deal with emergencies is a part of their training. We are sure that they will be able to come at par with this "emergency too". We would thus not like to vacate the order effectively passed by us," the bench also comprising Justice B R Gavai said.
The "no exam today, exam tomorrow" approach would go against the aspirations of young women, the court said, directing a notification for exams on November 14.
The Centre yesterday had told the court that while the educational standards would be the same for both male and female candidates, a separate module is being worked out for women aspirants to ensure minimum physical fitness so as not to compromise on the operational safety of the defence forces.
“While the education curriculum is well set, all the rest of aspects of the training are required to be formulated separately for the women candidates like outdoor training involving drill, equitation, swimming, games, sports, etc, shall have to be formulated." Shantanu Sharma, director, department of military affairs, stated in an affidavit.
“Hence the issue needs detailed analysis, including expert inputs to maintain operational readiness. It is needless to add that any dilution of physical training and service subject like parameters of firing, endurance training, field craft and living off the land kind of aspects, for the defence services’ women cadets/officers, would invariably impact the battle worthiness of the Armed Forces adversely,” the affidavit stated.