In a major gender reform, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, that it will allow induct women candidates into the national Defence Academy (NDA), thus inducting for Permanent Commission. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati said that the decision was taken by the Centre in consultation with the Armed Forces and will soon file a detailed affidavit. The SC has posted the case for further hearing on September 22.
"I am delighted to share this. Girls will be indicted for Permanent Commission through National Defence Academy. Decision was taken late evening yesterday. We will place a detailed affidavit," Bhati said.
Ecstatic at the decision, the Court remarked, "We have the nudged the authorities to take steps. The armed forces are a respected branch in the country but for gender equality, they need to do more. We are happy with the stand. Reforms cannot happen in a day. We compliment the ASG to persuade the armed services to take a more gender balancing approach".
Previously, on 18 August, the Supreme Court passed an interim order allowing women to take the admission exam to National Defence Academy(NDA) scheduled for September 5. An SC bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy observed that the Army policy barring women to attend NDA was based on gender discrimination. This development comes days after PM Modi announced that India's Sainik schools will allow girls to enroll, in his Independence Day speech.
Recently on August 2, the Supreme Court rapped the Centre over non-implementation of the permanent commission for women in Armed forces, telling it to implement its judgment as it stands. Accusing the Centre of attempting to go around the judgment, Justice DY Chandrachud refused to entertain Miscellaneous Applications seeking clarification on the issue. Suggesting the Centre to file review if aggrieved, the SC-bench allowed the Centre to approach Armed Forces Tribunals (AFT) for relief. The SC also ordered the AFTs to decide on these matters expeditiously and refused to give interim protection in any such case.
In July, the Army granted Permanent Commission to 147 additional women officers after the SC criticised it over non-implementation of its order. In March, the SC had rapped the Army for systematically discriminating against women by revising parameters for granting permanent commission to women short service commission officers, urging it to review several rejections. In response, the Army stated, "147 more women officers are being granted PC, taking the total PC granted to 424 out of the 615 officers considered”. In February 2020, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Chandrachud upheld the Delhi High Court's verdict stating that it was an obligation of the Centre to set up the permanent commission for women in the armed forces in all areas but combat positions.