The Centre informed Supreme Court that it had decided to allow women into the National Defence Academy (NDA) while hearing a petition filed by Kush Kalra against women being denied opportunities to be part of the NDA.
“There is good news. The Forces at the highest level and the government has taken a decision last evening to induct girls for permanent commission through the National Defence Academy,” Additional Solicitor General (ASG), Aishwarya Bhati informed the court.
Women can gear up to be a part of the Armed Forces immediately after graduating high school if this decision comes on paper.
The Bench led by Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh asked the government to file an affidavit for the same by the next date of hearing, September 22. The court admitted that the situation is not happy as it had to constantly nudge the authorities into taking action for improving gender equality. It also said that even though Armed Forces was a respected institution, it had more improvements to better gender equality.
The court in its order also appreciated the ASG for persuading the armed services to take a more gender-balancing approach. It further added that granting a Permanent Commission to the Short Service Commission is merely a measure of restoring equality of opportunity to the Armed Forces.
The PIL filed by Kush Kalra’s said that denying women the opportunity to register to enter the NDA violated Articles 14, 15, 16, and 19 of the Constitution.
The plea added that the abandonment of women eligible to join the NDA was “unconstitutional and based on their gender”.
It also alleged that denying equal opportunity to women candidates to enrol at the NDA “should not be used to perpetuate and continue the legal, social, and economic inferiority of women”.
After hearing the plea on July 30, former CJI SA Bobde had issued a notice to the government in this regard.
The Armed Forces, Air Force and Navy began recruiting women as short-service commission officers (SSC) in 1992 and were able to join the army from the SSC after graduating, unlike the male officers.
After that, they need to complete 10 months to one year of required training before they can be sent as officers.