The Supreme Court on Wednesday urged the federal government to allow female candidates to take the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance test, which is slated for November.
The Centre has previously requested an extension till May 2022 to let women take the NDA entrance exam, citing infrastructure and curricular modifications.
The defence forces, the court argued, are well-trained to cope with emergencies.
Women’s inclusion cannot be postponed: SC
A panel led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul was hearing a plea by Kush Kalra seeking orders to allow women to take the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy examinations.
The panel stated that women’s inclusion cannot be delayed, adding that permitting women to take the 2022 exam would push their admittance until 2023.
‘Armed troops respond to emergencies’
Justice Kaul stated, “The armed forces handle crises. So I don’t think the armed forces reaction team will be unable to deal with the scenario….not a lot of people have registered for the exam this time. As a result, the figures may be lower.”
“Instead of skipping the exam, try to work out something for them,” Justice Kaul says.
The court claims it does not want to disappoint women
As a result, the court denied the Centre’s request to rescind an interim decision permitting women to take the NDA exam.
It stated that the interim ruling had given women candidates optimism and that it did not want to let them down. The test is set to take place on November 14.
The next hearing was postponed until the third week of January.
To request a postponement, the Centre claimed logistical difficulties
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Ministry of Defence, contended in court that a study committee has been created to investigate modifications in curriculum, infrastructure, physical training, and accommodation facilities, among other things.
Bhati claimed that these modifications were necessary to allow for the admission of women and that the temporary order will place the defence forces in a “tight position.”
The court requests that the Centre work with the UPSC to publish notification
In addition, the court directed the Ministry of Defence to work with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to ensure that the latter published a corrigendum announcement enabling women applicants to sit for the November exam.
Previously, the Court requested that the Centre provide a strategy to incorporate women
During the previous hearing, the Centre agreed to let women enter the army through the NDA. It had, however, requested time until May 2022.
Justice Kaul then requested that the Centre provide a strategy before September 20.
The Ministry of Defence submitted an affidavit with the court, requesting additional time to guarantee women’s smooth entrance and training.