March 11, 2021 12:28:30 am
The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking direction to allow women candidates to join the National Defence Academy (NDA).
A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notices to the Centre, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and others on the plea, which contended that “categorical exclusion of eligible female candidates from entering the” the NDA “is simply done on the basis of their sex” and is “not constitutionally justifiable”.
The plea sought the court’s intervention to allow them to appear in the ‘National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination’ and train at the Academy.
In February 2020, the apex court had asked the Centre to consider all serving women officers on Short Service Commission (SSC) for the grant of Permanent Commission (PC) irrespective of their tenure of service.
The plea by advocate Kush Kalra referred to this ruling and said that the situation is such that since eligible women candidates with adequate 10+2 level of education cannot take the exam, they do not have access to any mode of entry to join the armed forces as officers at this level. “Whereas, equally and similarly situated male candidates with 10+2 level of education have the opportunity to take the examination and after qualifying join the National Defence Academy to get trained to be commissioned as permanent commissioned officers in the Indian armed forces,” the plea said.
This, the plea added, is “a denial of the fundamental right to practice any profession…not justifiable within the contours of the Indian Constitution…”. It is a “violation of the fundamental right of equality before the law and equal protection of the law”, the petitioner stated.
It pointed out that the duration of training for Short Service Commission women officers is very less compared to the training of a male permanent commission officer, who gets entry through the NDA.
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