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Women in NDA

by Vijay Garg
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In an important judgment, the Supreme Court has once again emphasized that there should be no place for a discriminatory mindset against women in the AMI.  Through an interim order, the court made it clear that women will also be able to appear in the NDA (National Defense Academy) entrance examination to be held on September 5.  Although their nomination will depend on the final decision coming in this matter, but the importance of this decision of the court is not limited to the admission process.  The focus of the court was mainly on the big question, why is there no openness to the question of women in arms?  Why every time the court has to intervene and pronounce the decision and still the matter remains limited to the implementation of the decision related to that particular case, not proceed beyond that?
 It is worth noting that in all other fields, women have progressed very fast, but in the army their pace has been very slow.  Even today, in the army of about 14 lakh soldiers, the percentage of women is only 0.56.  In this case, the Supreme Court’s decision in February last year is considered historic, in which the court not only declared women eligible for command posting but also directed the central government to ensure that they are given permanent commission.  Keep in mind, in that case, it was also argued in favor of not giving permanent commission to women, that the army consists mostly of people from rural background, for whom it is not easy to take orders from women.  The court not only rejected this argument but also called for a change in this mindset.
After that, although many steps have been taken in this direction, but barring women from appearing in NDA exam and calling it a policy matter may not be acceptable.  The Supreme Court rightly gave more importance to the question of why effective efforts are not being made in the army to change this mindset than to allow women to sit in the entrance examination.  The court, while confining itself to the interim order, said that it is not right to wait for its order in every case.  The government and the army themselves should correct their policy by taking necessary steps.  However, the issue of gender neutral policies in the military is not that simple.  It is also necessary to develop the necessary infrastructure for separate toilets and separate accommodation for women, which cannot happen overnight.  But no obstacle can be accepted in the way of fulfilling the constitutional demand of giving equal opportunities to women in every field.  It is to be expected that now the army and the government will be seen in a pro-active role in this matter.

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