The Supreme Court issued an interim judgment on 18th August 2021 allowing women to sit the National Defense Academy (NDA) admission exam slated for September.
The government and Indian Army’s Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the court that it is a policy choice not to allow women to take the NDA exam, which the supreme court labelled gender discrimination.
The decision was made by a bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, who was hearing public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Centre’s policy of excluding female candidates from the NDA and Naval Academy Examinations.
The Bench did clarify, however, that the outcomes would be contingent on the petition’s final decision. The petition claimed that barring women, the option to join the NDA was a violation of their constitutional rights under Articles 14, 15, 16, and 19. It infringed their right to equality and the freedom to practice their chosen profession.
Senior Advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, together with Advocates Mohit Paul, Sunaina Phul, and Irfan Hasieb, represented the petitioner.
The Army, according to Justice Kaul, “doesn’t believe in doing anything freely” until a court order is obtained. He was referring to a recent judgment by Justice Chandrachud, which upheld the government’s directive that women short service officers be awarded permanent commissions in the Army, with command assignments.
This was in response to a petition that asked for women to be admitted to the National Defense Academy. Admissions will be subject to final orders, according to the apex court.