The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that induction of women cadets in the National Defence Academy was a “major policy decision” and that it needs time to “deliberate long term implications” of the move in terms of deployment of cadets in armed forces, PTI reported.

The government made the submission in respone to a plea filed by advocate Kush Kalra who had sought data regarding the number of women who have appeared for the examination in 2021 and the number of women inducted.

Recruitment exams for the National Defence Academy are held twice – in April and September – every year.

“It is submitted that a total of 5,75,854 candidates applied for the exam and 3,57,197 candidates took the examination,” the Centre said in an affidavit. “A total of 8009 candidates, including 1002 women candidates passed the NDA written examination held during November 2021. The Service Selection Board (SSB) is scheduled with effect from March-April 2022.”

The decision to admit women into the National Defence Academy was permitted by the Supreme Court in September last year. In January, the court had asked the Centre to explain why, despite its orders, the intake of women candidates in academy was restricted to 19 in 2021, the same figure as in 2020, according to The Indian Express.

During Monday’s hearing, the Centre said that its decision to restrict the intake of women cadets in the National Defence Academy to 19 per batch was based on sound rationale and the current requirement of the armed forces, according to the Hindustan Times.

In its submission, the court informed that of the 19 women cadets, 10 vacancies are allotted for the army, six for the air force and three for the navy.

“Army and air force have also sought to strike a balance between pregnancy and motherhood of women officers with operational requirements while arriving at their numbers of absorption from the NDA,” the government said.

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