Supreme Court Passes Interim Order Allowing Women to Appear for NDA Exams

The Supreme Court on 18 August passed an interim order that women will now be able to take National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exams this year, scheduled on 5 August. The result would be subject to final adjudication of the petitions.

Justice Kaul inquired from Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, “Why are you continuing in this direction? Even after Justice Chandrachud’s judgment expanding the horizons and extending Permanent Commission in the Army to women? This is unfounded now! We are finding it absurd.”

He further said, “Will the Army only act when a judicial order is passed? Not otherwise?We will do that if that is what you want! This has been my impression right from the High Court that till a judgement is passed, the Army doesn’t believe in doing anything voluntarily.”

A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy passed the interim order in a writ petition filed by Kush Kalra. According to Live Law, the petition has stated that the categorical exclusion of women to train at the NDA and get commissioned into the Armed Forces of the country as Permanent Commissioned Officers solely based on their sex is a denial of the Fundamental Right to Practice any Profession and it is not justifiable within the contours of the Constitution. The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, along with Advocates Mohit Paul, Sunaina Phul and Irfan Hasieb.

The petition argued that the eligible female candidates having adequate 10+2 level of education are denied the opportunity to take the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy and Naval Academy Examination on the ground of their sex and the consequence of this denial is that at the 10+2 level of education, the eligible female candidates do not have access to any mode of entry to join the Armed Forces as Officers. Whereas, equally and similarly situated male candidates with 10+2 level of education can take the Examination and after qualifying join the National Defence Academy to get trained to be commissioned as Permanent Commissioned Officers in the Indian Armed Forces.

This, the petition stated was a clear violation of the Fundamental Right to Equality of Opportunity in Matters of Public Employment and the Fundamental Right to Protection from Discrimination by the State on the grounds of sex in respect of any employment or office under the state.




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