There were 1,875 female officers in the IAF as of September 2020 but still women were not allowed to appear in NDA. A writ petition was filed by an Advocate Kush Kalra against the center for restraining women from appearing in the National Defense Academy and Naval Academy Examination and training at the National Defense Academy. The Supreme Court through its interim order allowed women to appear in the NDA exam. However, it added that admissions will be based on the decisions of the petition. The bench also asked ASG, who appeared on behalf of Centre, that Is co-education a problem?
IS CO-EDUCATION A PROBLEM?
While asking the center the reasons for not allowing women it states that women were granted equal rights as men in the armed forces. There is no violation of rights of women merely on account of the mode of entries open for men and women to join the armed forces. And it also added that there is no special advantage for men undergoing training at NDA regarding their career advancement. Women are facing gender discrimination at each and every point of their life. But apart from that, the government has made many legislations and provisions for their enhancement and development. The main reason for this issue is that there is no separate training institute for women but there are separate institutes training only men. This is seen as a gender discrimination among the people. Higher officials of NDA concerned more about the physical training facilities available in the existing NDA. Retired Navy chief admiral Arun Prakash states that NDA was never meant to train women. New infrastructure will have to be created to address practical issues such as a separate squadron with segregated accommodation for women.
Non-allowance of women into NDA has created a lot of controversial talks among the people. First it is violating certain Articles of our own constitution namely Article 14 (Right to equality) and Article 15(Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of gender). Center is stating that they are giving equal opportunity for both men and women in armed forces recruitment. But the issue here is the way of recruiting and the place of training. If they are really providing equal opportunity for both the gender means they either have to admit women in NDA or they should create another NDA campus specially for women. If it is really true that person’s training in NDA do not have any special Career advantage, then let women also get training there. Former chief air staff Marshal PV Naik encouraged the interim order passed by the Supreme Court in allowing women to join the NDA. He said that Allowing women in NDA would be a good step towards giving equal opportunity to both men and women in the armed forces. First women vice-admiral of Navy Punita Arora welcomed this step. She added that there was a gradual but firm development in the armed forces regarding the women. While the writ petition is argued before the court the counsel appearing on behalf of respondent states that policy decisions of government should not be enquired in interim orders. If not giving equal opportunity in training or prohibiting women from joining NDA merely because of gender is considered as good policy, the author is of the opinion that the government failed to uphold the rights given by the constitution. If the government is of the opinion that co-education training is the problem, the author would like to say that there are schools and colleges of government which are providing education as co-education institutions. If they think that women may be subject to abuse during training with male, then severe punishments including making the male person unfit to be a member of the armed force should be introduced.
CONCLUSION: It's time for the government to take the necessary steps and to make necessary changes in the infrastructure of NDA to admit women into NDA. Let the women gets equal opportunities as men and be well trained in NDA.