SC allows women to appear for NDA exams, calls out gender bias in Indian Armed Force's policy
The Supreme Court of India ruled that women should be allowed to appear for the National Defence Academy examination conducted by UPSC every year. It called out the Indian Armed Forces and stated “they better change” their mindset.
The exam now remains postponed to November 14, 2021.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy issued the interim order in response to a petition filed by Kush Kalra.
"UPSC is directed to take out the necessary corrigendum in view of the interim orders we have passed today and give it wide publicity so that the intent of the order is translated into benefit at the ground level," the bench further said.
The landmark interim order now paves way for women to have equal footing to avail service opportunities. At present, women are recruited on Short Service Commission basis before getting permanent commission, while male candidates are directly offered permanent commission.
The court expressed hope that the Armed Forces would consider changing it without having to pass judiciary orders.
“Why are you continuing in this direction? Even after the Supreme Court judgment expanding the horizons and extending Permanent Commission in the Army to women? This is unfounded now! We are finding it absurd! Will the Army only act when a judicial order is passed? Not otherwise?” Justice Kaul asked.
In February 2020, the court had made a landmark ruling when it directed that women officers be granted a permanent commission as the Army’s evaluation criteria showed “systemic discrimination.” The court then laid down revised parameters to evaluate for the permanent commission in the Army in March and 147 additional women short service commission (SSC) officers were granted permanent commission in July this year.
Meanwhile, the strength of Indian women in the military has only grown in number and prominence. There are 9,118 women serving in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as the government informed the parliament in February 2021.
Edited by Kanishk Singh