Centre agrees to open NDA to women after Supreme Court’s prod | India News – Times of Nation
With the Supreme Court in its last hearing weighing against a discriminatory policy and passing an interim order allowing women candidates to appear in the NDA entrance examination, additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati informed a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh that the government in principle agreed to allow entry of female candidates in the joint defence service training institute of the armed forces.
Bhati, who as an independent lawyer, had fought successfully for the rights of women officers in defence forces and convinced the court to grant them permanent commission and command posting, informed the bench she was happy to share that a decision had been taken at the highest level in the government on Tuesday to induct girls in the NDA and sought time to place it on record.
The bench appreciated the government and defence forces for taking a positive step to end gender discrimination but in the same breath expressed concern over the authorities not acting on their own and awaiting the court’s interference.
The bench said it was not a good state of affairs and the government and defence forces should on their own take the decision to bring more gender equality within the system.
The court said it was compelled to pass an interim order to allow women aspirants to take the exam as the government had been taking an adversarial approach on the issue and opposing the plea instead of agreeing to consider it.
The ASG said it would be difficult to implement the order this year itself as there is need to create infrastructure and also change procedures and pleaded that status quo be maintained with respect to the NDA admissions for the current academic year.
Her plea was opposed by the petitioners who informed the bench that application forms of women aspirants were not being accepted. The court after hearing all the sides, asked the ASG to place the decision before the bench within 10 days and that would examine it on the next date of hearing. ‘We can’t make a wholesome change in a day… There is complexity of issues involved with armed forces and we aren’t oblivious of it. We wanted to push them to consider it,’ the bench said.
This is the second time in a year when the SC’s intervention resulted in scrapping of a gender discriminatory policy in the armed forces as the court had earlier ordered that women officers be granted permanent commission and also command posting. The court will also examine the issue of ending gender discrimination in admissions in government-run military colleges and schools, including Sainik Schools and Rashtriya Indian Military College.
Justice Kaul, who had first passed the verdict as a Delhi HC judge, allowing permanent commission for women officers that was later upheld by the SC, had said in the last hearing that he had got the impression that the Army was not willing to take a decision itself voluntarily and needed court direction.
Advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma and lawyer Mohit Paul, appearing for petitioner Kush Kalra, contended that barring women from getting enrolled and trained in NDA was violative of fundamental rights of all women who want to join NDA.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a timesofindia.indiatimes.com feed.)
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