The Supreme Court Wednesday passed an interim order allowing women to appear for the entrance exam to the National Defence Academy scheduled for September 5. It pulled up the Indian Army for its discriminatory policies and questioned why ‘co-education’ was a problem.
The order was passed by a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, who were hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Centre’s policy of not permitting female candidates to appear for the NDA and Naval Academy Examination.
The apex court clarified that the results of the examination will be subject to the final judgement in the petition. It also directed the UPSC to issue a corrigendum notification and “give due publicity so that intent of the order is translated into effect”.
The bench stated that that Army’s policy decision “is based on gender discrimination,” responding to Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati’s contention that of the three modes of entry into the army, women were allowed through two — Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers’ Training Academy (OTA). This is due to policy decisions and seeing that “it’s ultimately, a matter of national security,” she said.
Senior advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, appearing for the petitioner, too, stated that the Union government had filed a counter-affidavit stating that the barring of women from the exam is “purely a policy decision and should not be interfered with by the court…