In the same vein, the judiciary DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi, hearing the question of why women are not mandated in the field, observed that “The will and the administrative state of mind must change”. The Center had argued that women officers did not receive leadership positions because of the patriarchy that is deeply rooted in our society. In addition, it was argued that the dangers of women being taken as prisoners of war was another aspect that should be taken into account.
The Centre’s submissions to the Court raised more than a few eyebrows. Arguments included that women could not be trained and had lower physical abilities, pointed to environmental and psychological realities, different physical standards, exposures, employment of female agents, etc. Refuting the Centre’s assertions, the female requesting officers emphasized that they had worked “to the best of their ability and ability since their first induction in 1992, for the past 27-28 years, and that they in no way miss the roles assigned to them.” It was further added by the officers that the submissions of the Center “Are nothing but false and false bogies, to deprive women officers of their legitimate rights”.
The judiciary clarified that the Centre’s response was based on defined stereotypes that society maintains according to which men are perceived as being physically stronger, while women are weak and submissive. The Court underlined that this was a “mistaken notion” and that it also contrasted sharply with the 2019 policy published by the Center via a notification which granted officials of the Standing Commission to the Commission des services court (SSC) in 8 streams in addition to the existing streams. the Judge Advocate General (JAG) and the Army Education Corps (AEC). This policy was limited to allowing women to sit on the Standing Committee as regards only female staff positions. The Court noted that denying women positions of command cannot be supported in law and that their exclusion constitutes a flagrant violation of Articles 14 and 16.
The Supreme Court, while recently allowing female candidates to take the NDA exam, also said it will consider another petition seeking entry of female students into Sainik Schools and Indian Military College as it is closely related to admission to the NDA. Being a 99-year-old institution, the Rashtriya Indian Military College, the court said, should end 100 years with gender neutrality. To this end, the Center said that a study group has been formed by the Defense Services to formulate a curriculum for women cadets at the NDA and that a board of officers has been convened to formulate a futuristic proposal for the training of female cadets in the NDA.
In an affidavit filed by the Department of Defense in this regard, it was stated that the dilution of physical training and service subjects such as shooting would inevitably have an impact on the combat capability of the armed forces. Therefore, facilities like horse riding, swimming, games and sports need to be developed. Likewise, the need to develop a solid physical separation between male and female residential areas, including bathroom cubicles with modifications to accommodate female candidates, was emphasized. The Supreme Court petition said denying women the opportunity to join the NDA violated their basic rights under articles 14, 15, 16 and 19 of the constitution.