New Delhi: In a historic move, the Center today told the Supreme Court that women will be admitted to the National Defense Academy (NDA) for permanent commission in India’s armed force. Meanwhile, the Centre requested the top court to exempt the women entry in this year admission process, citing the requirement of infrastructural changes.
“We are extremely glad to know that the armed forces themselves took the decision to induct women into the NDA. We know that reforms cannot happen in a day… The government will place timelines of the process and the course of action,” the Supreme Court said today while hearing a petition for allowing women to take NDA and Naval Academy exams.
“The armed forces play an important role… but need to do more for gender equality in the forces. We want them to take a proactive approach themselves in ensuring gender equality rather than waiting for courts to intervene,” the Supreme Court said.
Today’s hearing comes less than a month after the Supreme Court, in a landmark interim order, said women can sit for the NDA admission exam, which has been rescheduled for November 14.
In the hearing on August 18, the court criticised a “mindset problem” when it came to equal service opportunities for men and women in the country’s armed forces, and warned the government “you better change”. The court had also expressed hope that the interim order would persuade the army to initiate that change of its own accord, rather than be forced to do so because of a directive from the judiciary.
The government had argued that its recruitment policy was not discriminatory and that there were a wide number of ways in which women could apply.
Men recruited through the NDA exam are currently granted permanent commission in the armed forces; However, women candidates are recruited as Short Service Commission officers at a later stage of their careers before being considered for permanent commission.