A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kisan Kaul said it was happy to know that the armed forces themselves had decided to include women in the NDA.
Additional Solicitor General W Shabria Bhati, appearing for the Center, told the bench that the Center had taken the decision yesterday after consulting with three Army chiefs.
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“There is good news. A higher force and the government have decided that women will be appointed to the standing commission through the National Defense Academy. The decision was taken yesterday evening,” ASG Bhati submitted.
The bench said it would like the defense to adopt a “more proactive approach to gender equality” rather than a court order.
“We are setting a precedent for the authorities to do it themselves. We believe they are the best fit to make rules. This is not a happy situation for us. The armed forces are a respected force in this country but they need to do more in terms of gender equality,” he said. Kaul.
The Supreme Court asked ASG Bhatti to record the statement through affidavit and adjourned the matter for two weeks and posted the matter for hearing on September 22.
“We are delighted to learn that ASG has submitted that the Armed Forces has decided to include women in the NDA and that other issues are being examined. They want to present to us the development and future plans for which time has been sought.”
The court was hearing an application seeking permission for women to take part in the NDA exam.
Earlier, the apex court in an interim order allowed women to take the NDA test which was scheduled for September 5, and also condemned the Indian Army for its decisions based on ‘gender discrimination’.
Today, the ASG said the women would be admitted to the NDA and the bench was informed that the examination has been postponed till November 2, 2021.
Bhati called on the apex court to maintain the status quo in NDA admissions in the current academic year.
“Consider giving stability to this test and let it go, as it will require changes in policy, procedures, training and infrastructure,” ASG submitted.
The bench asked the ASG to keep a record of the incidents through affidavits.
Earlier, the apex court had allowed female candidates to sit for the NDA exam on September 5 but said the admission application would be subject to the results of the application. It also condemned the government and the army for not allowing women to take part in the NDA exams.
“This is a policy decision based on gender inequality. We urge the Center and the military to take a constructive approach to this issue …
An application was filed in the apex court seeking directions to allow eligible female candidates to be on par with men in the NDA and Indian Naval Academy (INA).
The petition filed by Advocate Kush Kalra said that denying the opportunity to women candidates for admission in NDA is a violation of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Constitution.
Earlier, the bench had also issued a notice on a duty application of Anita, a female candidate, who was denied admission to the NDA. Anita said she had to give up her desire to join the armed forces.
“Eligible and willing female candidates are being denied access to the National Defense Academy on the basis of their gender and as a result, qualified female candidates have been systematically and explicitly excluded from training at the Chief Joint Training Institute of the Indian Armed Forces. Stands in the way, ”the petition said.
The petition was filed in the light of the apex court’s directive to increase the standing commission of short service commissioned female officers of the Indian Army.
“Following the judgment of this court on Secretary, Ministry of Defense v. Babita Punia, the Permanent Commission has been extended to female officers of the Army. However, there is still no way for female candidates to enter. Join the Armed Forces as Permanent Commission Officers. The application for entry into the Armed Forces as a Short Service Commissioned Officer must be made in an appropriate manner and after serving for a specified period of time, there is an option to opt for a Permanent Commission, ”the application said.
Adding to this, the fact that the Short Service Commission provides permanent commissions to women officers is only half of bringing back equality of opportunity in the military.
“The explicit exclusion of women for training at the National Defense Academy and for commission as permanent commissioned officers in the country’s armed forces is a denial of the fundamental right to pursue a profession solely on the basis of their gender and is not reasonable within the framework of the Indian Constitution,” it added.
“The government allows unmarried male candidates with sufficient 10 + 2 qualifications to appear for the National Defense Academy and Naval Academy examinations, but eligible and willing female candidates are not allowed to appear for the examination on the sole grounds of their gender and without any rational or rational reasoning.” Claimed.
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