The central government informed the Indian Supreme Court Wednesday that the armed forces have “themselves decided” to induct women into the military through the National Defence Academy for permanent commission.
The move comes just days after the Supreme Court issued an interim order allowing women to appear for the NDA admission exam in response to a petition alleging that the prohibition violated their right to equality and freedom of profession as guaranteed by Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Indian Constitution. The NDA exam was originally planned for September 2021 but has now been postponed to November 2021.
The bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kaul, welcomed the government’s initiative of convincing the armed forces to adopt a “more gender-neutral approach.” Further, acknowledging the vital functions performed by the armed forces, the court said, “we would not easily interfere with their roles and would like them to take a proactive approach in gender equality issues rather than leave it unattended and calling for the courts to interfere.” Moreover, the court granted the government two weeks to file an affidavit explaining the government’s plan on record.
Last year, the Supreme Court had passed another landmark judgment allowing women enlisted in India’s military to receive permanent commissions. Following this, the government issued a formal sanction letter to comply with the apex court’s order.