Allow girls to take NDA exam from this year itself, says SC

By: |
September 23, 2021 5:00 AM

Directing the government that women should be allowed to sit for the upcoming examinations on November 14 this year, the judges pointed out that postponing the process to write the NDA exam to May 2022 would delay their induction to 2023.

The bench, however, rejected the government’s stand, saying “the armed forces are best suited to deal with emergencies. We don't think they will not be capable to accommodating the candidates who take up exam this year.”The bench, however, rejected the government’s stand, saying “the armed forces are best suited to deal with emergencies. We don't think they will not be capable to accommodating the candidates who take up exam this year.”

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the first batch of girls should be allowed to take the National Defence Academy (NDA) exams this year on November 14, while rejecting the government’s request to defer the process by one year.

A bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that it cannot dash the “hope” of women candidates to join defence services through the NDA by delaying it for a year. “This won’t send the right signal to women after having given them the aspiration. Let’s begin from this year …no exam today, exam tomorrow” approach would go against the aspirations of young women, it said.

Directing the government that women should be allowed to sit for the upcoming examinations on November 14 this year, the judges pointed out that postponing the process to write the NDA exam to May 2022 would delay their induction to 2023.

“What answer we have for the students who are on the anvil of taking the exam. Don’t ask us to vacate the order. You go on with the exercise, let us see how many women get into it,” the bench said.

Additional solicitor-general Aishwarya Bhati had asked the court to allow women candidates to appear in the examinations next year, as certain infrastructural and curriculum changes were required to allow the induction of women. The government had sought time on the grounds that it is in the process of establishing “appropriate” medical and physical fitness standards, and building “required infrastructure”, which includes “robust physical separation between male and female residential areas”.

The bench, however, rejected the government’s stand, saying “the armed forces are best suited to deal with emergencies. We don’t think they will not be capable to accommodating the candidates who take up exam this year.”

On August 18, the top court had passed an interim order allowing women to take up the NDA examination.

A PIL was filed by advocate Kush Kalra seeking direction to the NDA to open its doors for women aspiring to join the Armed Forces. The petition argued that the categorical exclusion of eligible female candidates from the NDA was unconstitutional and done entirely on the basis of their sex.

The government’s previous stance on the petition was that “different kind of training” was needed and “ultimately it (barring women) is a matter of national security”.

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