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A plea seeking entry of women candidates in certain branches of the Indian Navy University, where admission of females is barred, on Wednesday led the Delhi High Court to seek the responses of the Centre and the Defence Ministry. The PIL alleged institutional discrimination by the government and sought a direction to it to elaborate the steps taken to permit the entry of women on par with male candidates.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Centre and Ministry of Defence (Navy) on the plea and asked them to file their responses by May 15, the next date of hearing.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said the government was not averse to this petition, not treating it as an adversarial litigation and was working on it.
Petitioner Kush Kalra, a lawyer, has sought a direction permitting the entry of women candidates under the Indian Navy University Entry Scheme in the executive branch’s general service (X) cadre, IT and in the engineering and electrical branch on par with men.
The plea alleged that the government was practising institutional discrimination by arbitrarily depriving women the right to serve in these branches, while permitting them entry as air traffic controllers and naval architects.
It said that discrimination on grounds of gender was violative of the fundamental right of equality, equality of opportunity in the matters of public employment, fundamental right to practice any profession and occupation and human rights of women.
The plea said the Navy’s notification to recruit only men in the general service (X) cadre and branches like IT, engineering and electrical under the university entry scheme and debarring entry of women candidates, should be declared void and the court should issue a direction to provide equal opportunity to female candidates at par with males.