The Central Government on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that a decision has been taken to allow the induction of women into the armed forces through the National Defence Academy. The Centre however requested the Court to exempt the current year NDA admissions from women entry, citing the need to make infrastructural changes.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati made this submission before a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in a case seeking to allow woman to take part in the NDA exams.
“There’s a good news. A decision has been taken at highest level of forces and government that girls will be inducted for Permanent Commission through National Defence Academy. Decision was taken late evening yesterday”, the ASG submitted.
The ASG however prayed that status quo be maintained with respect to the NDA admissions for the current academic year.
“Consider granting status quo for this examination and let it continue, as it will need policy, procedure, training and infrastructure changes”, the ASG submitted. She added that the NDA exams for this year, scheduled to take place on September 5, was postponed to November 24 by the UPSC even before the order of the Court.
The bench asked the ASG to place on record the developments through an affidavit.
“We’ve been periodically nudging the authorities to do it themselves. We do believe they are best suited to evolve rules. Its not a happy situation for us. Armed forces are respected forces of this country. But on gender equality they have to do more”, Justice Kaul commented.
On August 18, the Court had passed an interim order allowing women to appear in the NDA exams on a provisional basis. The order was passed in a writ petition filed by Kush Kalra, who argued that exclusion of women from NDA was arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Justice Kaul told the ASG today that if this decision had been taken earlier, the interim order of the Court would not have been necessary.
The bench adjourned the matter directing the Centre to file an affidavit.
“We are extremely glad to know as ASG submits that Armed Forces have taken a decision to induct females in NDA and other issues are being examined. They would like to place developments and future plan before us for which time is sought. We complement the ASG for taking a pro-active approach in persuading Armed Forces to take a gender equal approach. We know that Armed forces play an important role in our system performing a very important function. We would like them to take a pro-active approach to ensure gender equality than leave it unattended for courts to interfere”, the bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh recorded in the order.
The matter has been adjourned to September 22.
(Case Title : Kush Kalra v. Union of India and others)