Historic move! Centre allows induction of women into NDA

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Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

New Delhi : The government on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it has decided that women, too, can join the National Defence Academy (NDA). The Centre’s submission in the top court came as a 2-judge bench took up a plea seeking directions for necessary steps to be taken to allow eligible female candidates to appear in the upcoming NDA examination, which is scheduled to be held on November 14.

“There’s some good news. A decision has been taken at the highest level of forces and government that girls will be inducted for permanent commission through the National Defence Academy. The decision was taken late evening yesterday,” Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the central government, informed the bench, according to Live Law. 

The Centre, however, also sought an exemption from allowing women candidates for this year’s paper.

On this, the bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul directed the government to put on record a detailed affidavit by September 20, mentioning details such as steps being mulled, timeline etc. The next hearing in the matter will take place on September 22, it announced.

Wednesday’s developments come in the backdrop of interim directions passed by the court on August 18, in which it said that girls can also appear for the NDA exam. “The policy that restricts their entry into the elite institution is based on gender discrimination,” the order read. 

In doing so, it rejected Centre’s arguments that women not being allowed at the NDA does not violate their fundamental rights as male cadets trained at the academy do not enjoy any advantage in future career prospects over women who, at present, can join the Army only on short service commission (SSC) through the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam.

At present, only male candidates who have cleared class 12th, and are between 16-and-a-half and 19-years-old, can apply for this exam, which is conducted twice every year by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Those who clear the written exam then appear for Services Selection Board (SSB) interviews. Finally, the ones who clear their medical tests are inducted into the NDA, which was established in December 1954.