The Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that women will be admitted to the National Defence Academy, Bar and Bench reported.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati informed a bench led by Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh that the decision has been taken in consultation with the Armed Forces. “I am delighted to share this...Girls will be admitted in NDA,” Bhati said. “We will place a detailed affidavit.”
However, Bhati requested the court to maintain status quo about the admissions to the National Defence Academy in the current academic year, citing the need for “policy, procedure, training and infrastructure changes”, Live Law reported.
The court was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Kush Kalra seeking permission for women candidates to appear for the exam. In the petition, Kalra had argued that the exclusion of women candidates from the National Defence Academy was not constitutionally justifiable and amounted to discrimination on the basis of gender.
In an interim decision last month, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy had allowed women to appear for the admission examination for the National Defence Academy. The results of the examination would, however, be subject to the final verdict on the matter. This year’s examination is scheduled to be held on November 14.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the Supreme Court appreciated the Centre’s stand on the matter. “We have the nudged the authorities to take steps,” the court said. “Armed forces are a respected branch in the country but for gender equality they need to do more. We are happy with the stand. Reforms cannot happen in a day, we are also conscious.”
The court also hailed Bhati for persuading the the Armed Forces to “take a more gender balancing approach”.
The matter will next be heard on September 22.