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SC allows women to sit for NDA exam, criticises Army

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The Supreme Court has criticised the Indian Army for not allowing women candidates in the National Defence Academy (NDA), Sainik Schools and other military institutions, terming it as “regressive mindset”.

The court, in an interim order, also allowed the girls who had approached it to sit in the NDA exam scheduled on September 5. While criticising the Army for not providing equal opportunities to women, the court said, “Do not do tokenism. Why do you need the judiciary to pass orders every time?”

What SC said

The apex court’s bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said, “You are compelling the judiciary to keep on granting orders. It is better that you (Army) structure it than inviting court orders. We are permitting the girls who have approached the court to sit for the NDA examination.

The Indian Army was lambasted by the apex court bench over “continued gender discrimination” against women candidates. It said that while the Indian Navy and Air Force have already made provisions, the Indian Army still lags behind.

Justice Kaul further asked, “Does the NDA not feed people to the same 10 streams where women are allowed? You have not given Permanent Commission, you didn’t even give it in law and other streams till the Supreme Court stepped in.”

Notably, men recruited through the NDA exam are presently granted permanent commission in India’s armed forces. Women candidates, currently, however, are recruited as Short Service Commission Officers before being considered for a permanent commission at a later stage of their careers.

“It’s a question of mindset which is not changing. That’s why despite so many opportunities in the SC and HC, we couldn’t persuade the government. Every time the order has come from the court, it has expanded the scope,” the court said.

 

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