The Supreme Court on Wednesday passed an interim order allowing women to appear for the entrance exam to the National Defence Academy (NDA) which is scheduled to be held on September 5.
The Supreme Court also 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 Bench said, "It's a policy decision which is based on gender discrimination. We direct the Centre and Army to take a constructive view of the matter."
The Bench further said that female candidates can sit for the exam on September 5 but admissions will be subject to the outcome of the petition.
It may be mentioned, a writ petition was filed by Kush Kalra seeking permission for women to sit for the NDA entrance exam. The petition raised the issue of violation of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Constitution of India by denying the opportunity to eligible women candidates to join NDA.
It may be mentioned, the government allows unmarried male candidates having adequate 10+2 qualifications to take the NDA and Naval Academy Examinations. However, willing and eligible female candidates are not allowed to take the examination on the sole ground of their sex, the petitioner contended.
The Centre during the hearing said, "Women are being granted equal opportunity in the armed forces in the avenues that have been opened up for employment of women. There is no violation of any fundamental right merely on account of the mode of entries available to men and women to join the armed forces."
It also directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to take out a suitable corrigendum notification in view of the order and "give due publicity so that intent of the order is translated into effect", LiveLaw reported.