The Centre has told the Supreme Court that the three services chiefs have decided to
award the permanent commission to women and allow their admittance into the National
Defence Academy, marking a watershed moment for Indian women in defence (NDA).
“I have fantastic news,” Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati told the Supreme
The court on Wednesday.
Girls will be given permanent commissions through the NDA and
Naval Academy, according to service commanders and the government. “Last night,
late in the dark, I made a decision.”
The Supreme Court, breaking a 65-year-old glass barrier, ruled on Wednesday, August 18, 2021, that women can appear for the next National Defence Academy (NDA) exams and that the regulation that bans them admittance into the prestigious institution is based on " gender discrimination." It also slammed what it called the army's attitude toward providing equal opportunity to women.
The entrance exam for the NDA has been delayed from September 5 to November 14 according to the UPSC's revised calendar. Only male candidates aged 16 and a half to 19 who had completed class 12 or its equivalent schooling and were between the ages
of 16 and a half and 19 were eligible to apply under the existing qualifying conditions.
Candidates who pass the NDA exam are invited to an interview by the Service Selection
Board (SSB), after which they are recruited into the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force
wings of the NDA, as well as the INA pre-commission training course. The National
Defense Agency (NDA) was established in 1955.
The bench voiced its displeasure with the Indian Army's "mindset" when it comes to equal service possibilities for men and women in the country's armed services, while
hearing a case filed by lawyer Kush Kalra for equal opportunity for women at the NDA
and the Indian Naval Academy.
The court's decision comes only days before the army,
navy, and air force service chiefs visit the NDA in Pune to examine facilities and
arrangements for female cadets. According to a senior army commander who spoke on
the condition of anonymity, the visit was arranged earlier this month. The law officer
attempted to persuade the court that the army is not anti-women and that permanent
commissions are now being granted to women as well. The court was keen to point out
that this, too, came as a result of a Supreme Court decision. “No thanks to you for
appointing women to permanent commissions since you persisted in fighting until this
court issued its ruling. In the high court, I failed to persuade the army to award them
permanent commissions. “You were given several opportunities in the Supreme Court
before Justice Chandrachud had to finally pass a judgement enlarging the horizons and
providing permanent commission in the army to women,” Justice Kaul observed.
In February 2021, the Press Information Bureau issued data on the gender ratio in the
armed forces. Once the NDA is accessible to girls, the existing number of women in the
armed forces (0.56 per cent in the Army, 1.04 per cent in the Air Force, and 6.05 per cent
in the Navy) is anticipated to rise.
Despite the fact that the court has authorised women
to take the NDA exam, coaching centres are still waiting for more information before
preparing female candidates. “We will wait for Union Public Service Commission and
Service Selection Board orders before preparing to give NDA coaching to girls,” a
spokesperson from a Chandigarh-based SSB coaching institution says.