Following a Supreme Court direction, the armed forces have taken a decision to allow women candidates in National Defence Academy (NDA), the union government informed the apex court on 8 September. Meanwhile, the union government requested the top court to exempt women from entry in this year admission process, citing the requirement of infrastructural changes.
The union government told the Supreme Court that the Indian Army, IAF and Navy chiefs have agreed over the proposal to allow the entry of women into the NDA and naval academies.
“It is a delight to share this…The girls will be admitted in the NDA,” Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the Supreme Court.
“We do hope that defence forces value the important role women are performing. We want them to take (a) proactive approach in gender-based roles rather than courts to intervene,” the Supreme Court said.
The top court in its verdict earlier mentioned that the policy decision is based on “gender discrimination”. The petitioner argued that the eligible female candidates have been denied the opportunity to join the National Defence Academy on the basis of their sex, which later becomes a hurdle in the career advancement opportunities for female officers.
Candidates will be selected on the basis of their performance in written examination to be conducted by the commission followed by intelligence and personality test by the Services Selection Board of candidates who qualify in the written examination.
The written examination will be held for two subjects Mathematics and General Ability Test. Both papers will be of two and half hours. Mathematics paper will be of 300 marks and General Ability Test will be of 600 marks.
A bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh heard the case after the Supreme Court, in a landmark interim order, allowed women to attend the NDA admission exam, which has been rescheduled for 14 November.
The ASG sought the apex court’s permission to place on record through affidavit the details and sought status quo in this year’s exams as this needs procedure and infrastructural changes.
“I am happy that the heads of armed forces have taken a positive decision. Put on record, we will take up the matter. We are happy with the stand. Let us hear the matter next week. Reforms cannot happen in a day. We are also conscious of that,” it said.
The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Kush Kalra who had sought directions to the NDA to open its doors to women aspiring to join the armed forces.
For details of the UPSC NDA exam, one needs to visit the commission’s website.