The Central Government of India on Wednesday said to Supreme Court that the government has decided to open the Pune-based National Defense Academy (NDA) for female candidates to take admission to get permanently commissioned into India’s armed forces. The government, however, said that some time will be needed to frame guidelines to open defense academy for ladies.
The Supreme Court has told the center to file its reply by September 20.
The Central Government submitted its statement to a 2 judge bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh, listening to a plea that demands to take necessary steps to allow eligible female candidates to appear in the upcoming NDA examination, and open NDA for Women, the next exam of NDA is scheduled to be held on November 14.
The Supreme Court while hearing a petition for allowing women to take NDA and Naval Academy exams on Wednesday said that, that “We are extremely glad to know that the armed forces themselves decided to induct women into the NDA. We know that reforms cannot happen in a day … The government will place timelines of the process and the course of action. The armed forces play an important role … but need to do more for gender equality in the forces. We want them to take a proactive approach themselves in ensuring gender equality rather than waiting for courts to intervene.”
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati informed the court on Wednesday that “It is a delight to share this. Women will be admitted to the NDA. We will place a detailed affidavit. On June 24, the exam was postponed to November this year. Please grant status quo in these exams as this needs procedure and infrastructural changes.”
The hearing of Wednesday came less than a month after in a landmark interim order the supreme court said women can sit for the NDA admission exam, which has been rescheduled for November 14.
The court had also expressed hope that after the interim order the army would initiate the required changes, rather than be forced to do so because of a directive from the judiciary. As per present rule men cadets recruited through the NDA exam are granted permanent commission in the armed forces, whereas women candidates are recruited as Short Service Commission officers before being considered for a permanent commission at a later stage of their career.
Author: Nileshwar Roy