After SC order, Centre opens online application for women in NDA, naval academy exams
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) said on Friday it has opened an application window for women candidates to apply for the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination, 2021. “In compliance with the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India’s interim direction permitting the women candidates to take part in the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (II), 2021 by its order dated 18/08/2021 in WP (C). No.1416/2020 filed by Kush KalraVs. UoI& Others, the Union Public Service Commission has decided to open the online portal of application on its website (upsconline.nic.in) for this Examination to enable the unmarried women candidates ONLY by issuing a corrigendum to the Notice No. 10/2021-NDA-II, which was published on 09/06/2021,” UPSC said in a statement.
The corrigendum can be accessed on the UPSC’s website and the application window will remain open for women candidates from September 24 to October 8, the commission said.
This comes after the Supreme Court on Wednesday stressed that it “cannot belie the aspirations of young girls” as it rejected the Centre’s request to delay the first-ever examination for women candidates for their entry into the NDA. The top court also directed that they shall be allowed to sit for the upcoming exam on November 14.
Only male candidates who have cleared Class 12 level or its equivalent, and are in the age group of 16-and-a-half and 19 are eligible to apply under the current eligibility criteria. Those who clear the NDA exam are called for interview by the Service Selection Board (SSB), and following a medical exam, candidates are recruited in the army, navy, and air force wings of NDA, and for the INA course for pre-commission training.
The government on Monday said that women can sit for the entrance exam in April-May next year and join the academy in January 2023. But the Supreme Court said there cannot be a request from the authorities to make the aspiring women skip the upcoming exam in November. “What would effectively mean by the submission of the armed forces is – No jam today, jam tomorrow!” a bench of justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice BR Gavai said. “It will be difficult for us to accept that position, the aspirations of women having been arisen in view of the order, albeit subject to the final outcome of the petition. We would thus not like to effectively vacate the order passed,” the bench said in its order.
The bench directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to issue a revised notification for the entrance exam for NDA after consultation with the ministry of defence (MoD).
Additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati, who was representing the Centre, said that women candidates will have to skip the exam in November in view of the sweeping changes that have to be brought about before women cadets are inducted and start their training at the joint defence service training institute of the Indian armed forces.
However, the bench said “armed forces have been in far more difficult and tight situations…” “It is not very easy but it is not that complex as it is being projected. Armed forces deal with all kinds of emergency situations and they are the best people to handle such situations. What answers do we have for women who are now ready to take exams? Will we say you try your luck sometime in future? No, you work out something this year only.”