Supreme Court Allows Women to Sit for NDA Exam, Slams Gender Discrimination

New Delhi, 19 August 2021 – The Supreme Court passed an interim order on Wednesday, allowing women to sit for the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam, which will be conducted on 5th September 2021. Till now, only male candidates had the provision of applying for NDA.

Note: This order is only interim and is subjected to a final decision, which is expected to be declared on 8th September 2021. All interested candidates are hence advised to keep an eye on the official UPSC website –Β 

Supreme Court Interim Order on NDA

The Centre had earlier stated that women cannot claim violation of any fundamental right for being denied entry to the Army via NDA. Adding to this, they also stated that the male cadets training there do not have any automatic advantage in future career advancement prospects over the women, for whom, the only route to enter the Indian Army is by recruitment through SSC (Short Service Commission).Β 

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, had presented the argument that it is a policy decision of the government and should not be questioned.

Supreme Court Interim Order on NDA

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea from the petitioners, which pointed out that the willing and eligible female candidates are still being denied the opportunity to enter the National Defence Academy based on their gender. This is a pathway of categorically and systematically excluding female candidates who are eligible to get an opportunity to train at the premier joint training institute of the Indian Armed Forces. Such denial at a later point of time becomes a hurdle in the career advancement opportunities for Female Officers in the Armed Forces.

The application said the examination notice is in complete violation of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the Constitution. On 10th March 2021, a bench headed by then Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had issued a notice to the Centre on the plea.

Supporting the viewpoint of petitioners and expressing displeasure on “regressive mindset”, the Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy (Top Court) disagreed with the Centre’s contention and pointed out that the Army’s policy decision to not allow women to appear for the NDA exam is based on “gender discrimination”.

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NDA Exam 2021 – Exam Events

The Commission had earlier postponed the NDA 2 2021 exam to 14th November 2021 from the scheduled 5th September 2021. However, the NDA 2 application form 2021 window is closed now.

Therefore, going by the SC’s latest order, UPSC is expected to open the NDA 2 2021 application window once again for the female candidates to apply for the UPSC NDA/ NA II exam 2021.

NDA Events Important dates
NDA 02/2021 notification 9th June 2021
NDA 2021 application form dates 9thΒ  to 29th June 2021
NDA form 2021 withdrawal last date 12th July 2021
NDA 2 exam date 2021 14th November 2021 (new date)

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Taking into consideration the COVID precautions, the Union Public Service Commission had also increased the number of NDA exam centres from 41 to 75. A total of 400 vacancies will be filled through the NDA 2 2021 recruitment process in the three defence sectors – Indian Army, Navy and Air Force.Β 


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