The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the centre's plea to defer the first National Defence Academy (NDA) exam for women candidates, saying it doesn't want women to be denied their right. The induction of women cannot be posted by one year, it said. UPSC NDA exam is scheduled to be held on November 14. A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said: "This won't send the right signal to women after having given them the aspiration. Let's begin from this year." "We cannot delay things by a year. We gave hope to the girls. We cannot deny them that hope now," said the bench.
The government earlier informed the apex court that NDA notification for the women aspirants will be released by May next year. The top court noted the submissions made by senior advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, appearing on behalf of the petitioner Kush Kalra, and said that it cannot postpone the induction of women by one year. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati submitted that a study group has been formed to facilitate the entry of women, and the necessary mechanism to facilitate that can be put in place by May 2022.
The ASG sought skipping the next NDA entrance examination, scheduled to be held on November 14. "We appreciate your problems. I'm sure you people are capable of finding solutions. Let us see the results. The planning can go on... It is difficult for us to accept this submission from the Centre in view of the aspirations of the candidates willing to take the exam. "Armed services have dealt with very difficult situations. To deal with emergencies is a part of their training. We are sure that they will be able to come at par with this "emergency too". We would thus not like to vacate the order effectively passed by us," the bench also comprising Justice B R Gavai said.
In an additional affidavit filed by Captain Shantanu Sharma, Director (AG), Ministry of Defence, the government has proposed to have the necessary training mechanism, establishing standard medical standards, and building the necessary infrastructure. "... only medically fit candidates meeting selection criteria are allowed... standards for male cadets are in place, appropriate standards for women are in the process of formulation... taking into account age and nature of training, as also functional/operational requirements," the apex court was informed.
The government further mentioned that any dilution of physical training for women candidates would affect the battle worthiness of the armed forces. At present, there are no parallel (physical) standards for women candidates and the government is planning to formulate it following detailed analysis to maintain operational readiness.
"In order to cater to the above, a Study Group has been constituted, comprising of experts to expeditiously formulate the comprehensive curriculum for women cadets at the NDA," the government said. The government has announced board officers to give a holistic and futuristic proposal for the training of women cadets at the NDA, incorporating all relevant aspects.
- With PTI and IANS inputs