The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to cancel the provisional order it approved to allow female candidates to appear for National Defense Academy (NDA) exams.The court rejected a plea made by the Ministry of Defense to exempt the NDA from inducing women from current entry. The ministry said some infrastructure and curricular changes are needed to allow for the induction of women, and therefore sought the time until May 2022 to allow women to participate in NDA entry.
However, a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed that the admission of women cannot be postponed. The bench took note of the submissions made by Senior Advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma on behalf of the petitioner Kush Kalra that two exams are held by the NDA during a year for the admissions to the next year. So, allowing women to take only the 2022 exams will mean that their admissions to the NDA will take place only in 2023.
Justice Kaul said that he has closely read the affidavit filed by the Ministry and has fully understood the difficulties expressed by them. He said that having given hope to the women through the interim order, it does not want to let them down
"I have fully understood your affidavit. We appreciate your endeavor to put before us different areas of concerns. You have referred to fitness test, accommodation, curriculum changes and so on...But what we are finding it difficult to accept is to postpone everything by a year. Having given a hope to women to take exam in November, we don't want to belie that hope"
"We will give you latitude, but don't ask us to vacate the order. Let us see the results. Let us see how many women will get in. We are not disposing the petition", the judge added.
On the last date of the hearing, the central government told the Supreme Court that a decision had been made to allow women to join the military through the National Defense Academy. However, the Center had asked the Court to exempt the NDA admissions of the current year from the entry of women, citing the need to make infrastructural changes.
Case Title: Kush Kalra v. Union of India and Others