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‘Historic Decision’: Women will be given admission in NDA, Center tells SC, seeks time for roadmap

The Center on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that women will be admitted to the National Defense Academy (NDA) for permanent commission in India’s armed forces, calling it a “historic decision” and sought more time to frame guidelines.

Addressing the court, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the court: “I am happy to share this. Girls will be given admission in NDA. We will submit a detailed affidavit.”

The court was hearing a PIL which claimed that denial of opportunity to women to be a part of NDA was violative of their fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Constitution.

The court, during the last hearing of the case, had passed an interim order allowing women candidates to appear in the NDA entrance examination.

The Bar & Bench pointed out that Bhati asked the court to provide status quo with regard to the examination as procedural and infrastructure changes would be required.

The court appreciated the stand of the Center on the issue. “We have asked the officials to take steps. Armed forces are the respected branch in the country but they need to do more for gender equality. We are pleased with the stand. Let’s hear this matter next week. Improvements cannot happen in a day, we are also conscious.”

In a landmark judgment in February 2020, the apex court had ordered that women officers in the Army be given permanent commission at par with their male counterparts.

This was despite the Center’s opposition to the same.

In March 2021, the court had directed the central government to allow permanent commission to women officers who were excluded on grounds of uneven application of fitness standards.

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