Can't Be Delayed: SC Refuses to Vacate Order Allowing Women to Write NDA Exam
The Centre had asked time till May 2022 to allow women to take the NDA entrance, but the SC denied its plea.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 22 September, refused to vacate its interim order that allowed female aspirants to take the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance examination to be held in November 2021, reported LiveLaw.
The Ministry of Defence on Tuesday, however, approached the court to exempt the academy from inducting women candidates via the present entrance test.
On 18 August, the apex court had passed an interim order allowing women to take the admission exam to NDA.
"Cannot create bar for women in NDA," noted the bench.
Subsequently, the Centre on 8 September told the Supreme Court that it would allow women in the NDA.
"I am delighted to share this. Girls will be admitted to NDA. We will place a detailed affidavit," ASG Bhati had told the court, as quoted by Bar&Bench (B&B).
What the Court Said
In a hearing of the case, the Defence Ministry argued that owing to certain infrastructural and curriculum changes required to allow the induction of women, it would need till May 2022.
However, the bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Wednesday turned down the Centre's plea and said that it cannot postpone the admission of women by a year.
It added that the Armed Forces are well-trained to deal with emergencies and should be able to come up with a solution.
"The armed forces deal with emergencies. So I don't believe that armed forces response team will not be able to deal with the scenario....not many many have enrolled for the exam this time. So numbers might be smaller. So instead of skipping the exam, try to work out something for them", Justice Kaul said, according to LiveLaw.
Further, Justice Kaul noted that while the bench had understood the predicaments expressed by the ministry, it could not go back on its interim order and take back women's hope.
"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."Justice Kaul, as quoted by LiveLaw
The judge, however, went on to say that the court was 'not disposing the petition' and said that it was giving the ministry latitude in the matter.
Justice Kaul told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, "Let us see the results. Let us see how many women will get in."
The bench adjourned the hearing to the third week of January, LiveLaw reported.
(With inputs from LiveLaw.)
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