The Centre will issue a notification allowing women candidates to take the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam in May 2022, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told the Supreme Court Tuesday.
According to the Bar and Bench, the Ministry added in its affidavit that an expert study group has been convened to formulate a curriculum, while a Board of Officers will frame a futuristic proposal for the training of women cadets at the NDA.
The Centre, earlier this month, had informed the apex court of its decision to induct women for permanent commission in the armed forces through the NDA. The present affidavit has been filed regarding the modalities of working that decision.
The affidavit noted that “any dilution of physical training and service subject like firing, etc. would invariably impact the Battle Worthiness of the Armed Forces adversely,” and hence, facilities like equitation, swimming, games and sports have to be developed for the female cadets.
The Ministry also submitted that new residential facilities would have to be developed to ensure a physical separation between the residential areas of men and women. Modification to facilities such as bathroom cubicles would also be required for privacy.
The top court, in an interim order on August 18, had allowed women candidates to sit for the NDA entrance exam scheduled to be held on September 5.
The bench had noted a judgment passed by Justices D Y Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi on February 17 last year, which directed the government to ensure that women Short Service Commission officers are given permanent commission in the Army, including command postings.
Following this, the Centre on September 8 had sought status quo for the current year, saying it needs “policy changes, procedure, training infrastructure etc”.
It was submitted that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had decided to postpone this year’s exam from September to November.
The apex court had passed its interim order in a plea filed by Advocate Kush Kalra, stating that not allowing eligible women candidates to appear for the NDA and Naval Academy Examinations conducted by the UPSC was a violation of their fundamental rights.