The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Centre's plea to defer the first National Defence Academy (NDA) exam for women candidates, and directed that women should be allowed to sit for the upcoming exam on November 14.
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said: "This won't send the right signal to women after having given them the aspiration. Let's begin from this year."
"We cannot delay things by a year. We gave hope to the girls. We cannot deny them that hope now," said the bench.
The top court pushed the Armed Forces to allow women to write the NDA exam in November this year, and not wait till May 2022.
The bench noted that postponing the process of allowing women to write the NDA exam to May will delay their induction to 2023.
The Centre contended that certain infrastructural and curriculum changes are required to allow the induction of women, and sought time till May 2022 to allow the women to take the exam. The bench said the Armed Forces are trained to act in emergencies and it is the best response team.
The bench reiterated that the admission of women cannot be postponed, while taking note of the submissions made by senior advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, representing the petitioner Kush Kalra, that two exams are held by the NDA during a year for the admissions to the next year.
The Centre has told the Supreme Court that a study group has been constituted by the defence services to expeditiously formulate a comprehensive curriculum for women cadets.
The government said, a notification allowing women candidates to take the entrance exam for entry into all three defence services in the existing streams through the National Defence Academy (NDA) will be released in May, 2022.
In an affidavit, the Centre said: "A study group has been constituted by the defence services, comprising of experts to expeditiously formulate the comprehensive curriculum for women cadets at NDA and a Board of Officers has been convened to give a holistic and futuristic proposal for training of women cadets at NDA incorporating all relevant aspects".
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