The Supreme Court has directed the central government to include women in the permanent commissions of National Defence and Naval Academies from this year’s examination that is scheduled to be held in November. It refused to vacate its previous order of allowing women to take the exams this year.
Bar & Bench reported the court saying, “It would be difficult for us to accept the submissions of the Centre in view of the aspirations of the candidates willing to take the exam. The Armed Forces have seen far emergent situations both at the border and in the country. We are sure such training will come handy here. We will thus not vacate the order passed by us. We will keep the plea pending here so that directions can be sought as situations arise.”
The court was talking about its previous order passed on August 18, in which it ordered, “In view of the impending examination and on hearing learned counsel for parties, we consider it appropriate to issue interim direction permitting the women candidates to take part in the examination scheduled for 05th September, 2021, subject to further orders from this Court.”
The Court had also ordered the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to give wide publicity to the order so that people can benefit from the same. It had said, “UPSC is directed to take out the necessary corrigendum in view of the interim orders we have passed today and give it wide publicity so that the intent of the order is translated into benefit at the ground level.”
The Court said today, on September 22, that instead of allowing women to write the exams next year, the centre should consider ways to do something for the women candidates. It said, “What answer would we have for the students who are on the anvil of taking the exam? Don't ask us to effectively vacate the order. You go on with the exercise. Let us see the result and see how many women get in”, reported B&B.
The Additional Solicitor General, Aishwarya Bhati, contended that a study group has been constituted to examine the various changes in curriculum, infrastructure, fitness training, accommodation facilities etc., and these are required to be made to facilitate the entry of women by May 2022. Therefore, she sought time and urged the court to not allow women to sit for the NDA entrance examination, scheduled to be held on November 14.
But the court refused to entertain this argument and asked the centre to look for solutions and to begin with the process. LiveLaw quoted the court saying, “It will be difficult for us to accept that position, the aspirations of women having been arisen in view of the order, albeit subject to the final outcome of the petition.”
As per media reports, the petition had been filed by Kush Kalra, alleging that female candidates were being denied the opportunity of entry to the National Defence Academy on the basis of their sex, thereby systematically excluding eligible female candidates the opportunity to train at the premier joint training institute.
The petition had also stated that the categorical exclusion of women to train at the National Defence Academy and get commissioned into the Armed Forces of the country as Permanent Commissioned Officers was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The Court has posted the matter for further hearing in the third week of January.
The August 18 interim order may be read here: