The Defence Ministry told the Supreme Court that a notification allowing women candidates to appear for the entrance exam to the National Defence Academy (NDA) will be out by May 2022.
Earlier, the ministry had said that a decision has been taken to allow the induction of women into the Armed Forces through the NDA.
Filing an affidavit, the ministry said that keeping the timeline in mind, deliberate planning and meticulous preparation is needed to ensure smooth induction and seamless training of such women candidates.
“The Government of India, in line with its commitment, hereby place on record its clear and categorical stand that the women candidates shall be considered for entry in the three defence services, in the existing streams, through National Defence Academy,” the affidavit stated.
It further said that the NDA entrance exams are held twice a year and the government proposes to have the necessary mechanism in place by May 2022, the time by which the UPSC is required to publish the first notification next year, for the exam.
The affidavit also stated that a study group has been constituted by the Defence services comprising experts to expeditiously formulate a curriculum for women cadets at the NDA and a Board of Officers has been convened to frame a futuristic proposal for training of women cadets at NDA incorporating all relevant aspects.
“Any dilution of physical training and service subject like firing, etc. would invariably impact the battle worthiness of the Armed Forces adversely,” it added.
It also stated the need to have a robust physical separation between male and female residential areas for which new residential facilities have to be developed to accommodate the women candidates including bathroom cubicles with modifications to maintain privacy.
“Some time is needed to construct additional bathrooms, cabins, training facilities and develop curriculum for the new joinees,” the Ministry of Defence told the apex court.
“Only medically fit candidates meeting the selection criteria are allowed to join the Academy. They are also required to meet laid down medical standards. While medical standards for male cadets are in place, appropriate medical standards for women candidates are in the process of formulation. The same needs to be done before they join,” the affidavit added.
A Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had asked the ministry to put the statement of inducting women into the Armed Forces through the NDA, on record through an affidavit