The Supreme Court on Wednesday urged the Centre to allow women to appear in the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance examination which will be conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on November 14, 2021.

The direction comes a day after the Ministry of Defence informed the apex court that a notification allowing women candidates to appear for the exam would be out by May next year.

The Ministry said in its plea that that curriculum and infrastructural changes were needed in the exam to allow women to participate due to which some time is required for everything to be put into operation.

However, the Supreme Court refused to vacate the interim order passed to allow female candidates to take the NDA entrance exam this year.

It also said it understands the difficulty of the central government to bring the necessary changes into effect so soon but it cannot be postponed as it will not send out a good signal and the aspirations of women cannot be compromised.

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On September 8, the government had assured the court that the induction of women into the NDA was already under consideration by the Armed Forces.

The court added that the armed forces are the best response team to deal with any emergency situations and it is hopeful that all necessary arrangements would be made to allow women to take the NDA examination in November 2021.

It also said if the plea by Ministry was to be entertained, it would mean that women candidates would only take 2022 exams and thus, their admissions to NDA would be delayed till 2023.

“Women must be allowed to take the November 2021 exams. Cannot defer for one year. We will give you latitude, but don’t ask us to vacate the order. Let us see the results. Let us see how many women will get in. We are not disposing the petition.” It added.

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