2 min read.Updated: 18 Aug 2021, 02:41 PM ISTLivemint
Supreme Court slammed the Indian Army for not allowing women to take part in National Defence Academy (NDA) exams
Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Indian Army for not allowing women to take part in National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exams. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati appearing for the government and Indian Army told the court that it's a policy decision not to allow women to take the NDA exam, the apex court called the Army's “policy decision" gender discrimination.
"It's a policy decision which is based on gender discrimination. We direct the Centre and Army to take a constructive view of the matter...," the Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said expressing displeasure on "regressive mindset".
The Bench ordered that female candidates can sit for the NDA exam on September 5 but the admissions will be subject to the outcome of the petition.
A writ petition was filed by Kush Kalra seeking permission for women to sit for the NDA entrance exam. The petition raised the issue of violation of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Constitution of India by denying the opportunity to eligible women candidates to join NDA.
"Eligible and willing female candidates are not allowed to take the said examination (of NDA and Naval Academy) on the sole ground of their sex…and this act of discrimination is a dishonour committed by the respondents to the Constitutional values of equality (Article 14); Article 16 (equal opportunities in matters of public employment); Article 19 (freedom to practice a profession), and non-discrimination (Article 15) in the Constitution of India".
The government allows unmarried male candidates having adequate 10 2 qualification to take the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination, however, eligible and willing female candidates are not allowed to take this examination on the sole ground of their sex and without any reasonable or justifiable explanations, the petitioner contended.
During the hearing, the Centre said, “Women are being granted equal opportunity in the armed forces in the avenues that have been opened up for employment of women. There is no violation of any fundamental right merely on account of the mode of entries available to men and women to join the armed forces."
The Additional Solicitor General said there are three modes of entry in the Army- NDA, Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers' Training Academy (OTA) and that women are permitted entry through OTA and IMA.
To which the Bench asked why women's entry is allowed only through two sources.
"And even if it is a matter of policy, you are allowing women's entry through two sources. Why should you say the one more additional source of entry is closed for women? It is not just a gender principle but discriminatory otherwise also," the SC said.
The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, along with Advocates Mohit Paul, Sunaina Phul and Irfan Hasieb.
In addition to Kalra’s petition, SC is also considering a petition filed by Kailas Udhavrao More seeking admission of girls into the century-old Rashtriya Indian Military College at Dehradun from this academic year. This college is run solely for boys by the ministry of defence.
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