The Supreme Court of India, in a landmark interim order, has decided to allow female candidates to appear for UPSC NDA exams. The interim order was passed on Wednesday in a response to the PIL filed by lawyer Kush Kalra. The PIL was filed by advocate Kalra seeking equal opportunities for women at par with men in the National Defence Academy (NDA) exams.
It must be noted that the order is interim and is subject to the final decision. The final decision is likely to be passed on September 8.. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) will conduct the NDA, NDA exam (2) 2021 on November 14, 2021. The notification was released on June 9. The registration window closed on June 29. If the order is finalised, there is a possibility that UPSC might reopen the registration window for UPSC NDA, NA (2) 2021. The UPSC NDA, NA (1) 2022 notification will be released on December 22, 2021. The registration window will be closed on January 11, 2022. The UPSC NDA, NA (2) 2022 will be conducted on April 10, 2022.
A division bench comprising of Justice SK Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy heard this petition on Wednesday, August 18. They also expressed disappointment over women being denied equal opportunities in the UPSC NDA exams. Advocate Kalra stated in the PIL that the UPSC NDA exam notice is in complete violation of Articles 14, 15, 16, and 19 of the Constitution. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati was representing the Centre. She argued that it is a policy decision of the government to which the top court replied that the decision of the government regarding the exam is completely based on gender discrimination and the government must take a constructive step to eradicate this inequality.
The apex court has also informed the Indian Army to take a conscious decision without waiting for judicial orders in such matters. The ASG argued that UPSC NDA recruitment allows men for permanent commission while women are eligible for recruitment as Short Services Commission (SSC). Noting its previous year's order, SC stated that women officers in the Indian Army would be able to get command positions and permanent commissions.