In a long-awaited decision, the armed forces have decided to induct women into the National Defence Academy (NDA), the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday. “We are happy with the stand,” the court observed. 

“I am happy that the heads of armed forces have taken a positive decision. Put on record, we will take up the matter. We are happy with the stand. let us hear the matter next week. Reforms cannot happen in a day. We are also conscious of that,” said the bench headed by Justice S K Kaul, reports PTI.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Kush Kalra raising the issue of exclusion of eligible and willing female candidates from joining the prestigious NDA solely on the ground of sex. This, the petition alleged, was a violation of the fundamental right of equality.

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Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that a decision has been taken at the highest level of the armed forces as also the government that females will be inducted for permanent commission through the NDA.

The ASG sought apex court’s permission to place the details on record through affidavit and sought status quo in this year’s exams as this needs procedure and infrastructural changes.

The government also informed the court that it needed some time to frame guidelines and fine tune norms to pave the way for women to enter NDA . The Supreme Court has told the centre to file its reply by September 20.The matter is listed after two weeks.

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The NDA is the joint defence services training institute of the Indian Armed Forces, where cadets of the three services i.e. the Army, Navy and Air Force train together before they go on to respective service academy. It is located in Khadakwasla, Maharashtra.  

Earlier, on August 18,  the Supreme Court had allowed women to take entrance exams for entry in the NDA while slamming the Army for not allowing women to take part in NDA exams. On Army’s submission that it was a policy decision, the top court had said that this policy decision is based on “gender discrimination”.

“Don’t force us to pass orders,” the top court said. The bench added that the policy decision was based on gender discrimination. “We direct the respondents to take a constructive view of the matter in view of the judgement of this court.”