The apex court has sent a notice to the Centre and National Defence Academy (NDA), seeking response on a public interest litigation challenging exclusion of women candidates from applying or entering the NDA and Naval Academy.
The petition filed by advocate Kush Kalra said women being denied entry to NDA is a violation of the fundamental right to equality, and the right to practise a profession.
"The act of the respondents to categorically exclude eligible and willing female candidates from appearing for the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination over the years, solely on the ground of sex, is a violation of the fundamental right of equality before the law and equal protection of the law," the petition said.
According to the petition, eligible women candidates with 10+2 level of education are not permitted to take the NDA examination owing to their gender, which means they have no access to “any mode of entry to the armed forces as officers at this level.”
The petition also called out the low numbers of women in the armed forces, despite defence forces having opened more doors for women in the last few years.
A bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued a notice to the centre, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and others seeking their response.
"This opportunity to take the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination at the age of 15-18 years, with the eligible academic qualifications is not available to eligible and willing female candidates and the sole reason for this categorical exclusion is on the basis of their sex," the plea added.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)