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Can't Segregate Armed Forces On Caste Basis : Supreme Court On Plea For SC/ST Reservation In NDA

Sohini Chowdhury
9 March 2022 4:31 AM GMT
Cant Segregate Armed Forces On Caste Basis : Supreme Court On Plea For SC/ST Reservation In NDA
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The Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 8) expressed disinclination to deal with a plea seeking reservation for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Classes in the National Defence Academy (NDA).A bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MM Sundersh said that it was dealing with the issue of women induction in NDA and clarified that it was not going to deal with...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 8) expressed disinclination to deal with a plea seeking reservation for Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Classes in the National Defence Academy (NDA).

A bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice MM Sundersh said that it was dealing with the issue of women induction in NDA and clarified that it was not going to deal with plea for caste-based reservations.

The bench was considering the case Kush Kalra versus Union of India, which is relating to induction of women in NDA, in which one Kailas More has filed an intervention application seeking caste-based quota.

"You cannot apply principles of civil employment here. Armed Forces are a homogenous unit. You cannot segregate them on the basis of caste," Justice SK Kaul told More.

The bench said that it was focussed on gender issues at present and expressed disinclination to deviate into other issues. It said that social revolution will take time while expressing its intention to deal with only gender issues at the time.

"We are focussed only on gender issues. Social revolution does not come overnight and it takes time. The first chapter has been written. Let it get over", Justice Kaul said.

As regards the main petition, the Court adjourned the hearing till July after the Centre said that it required time to study the implication of induction and deployment of ex-National Defence Academy (NDA) women cadets in the Indian Armed Forces. The Centre said that the the number of women intake in NDA can be based on the women induction in armed forces and sought for time to assess the same.

"The induction of woman cadets in NDA has been a major policy decision. The respondents need sufficient time for deliberating implications in the long term for induction and deployment of ex-NDA women cadets in the Indian Armed Forces. It is, therefore, submitted that the respondents require at least three months additional time towards this," the Centre has said in its affidavit

In August, 2021, the Court had passed an interim order permitting women to appear in entrance tests conducted for NDA. The Defence Ministry filed an application seeking vacation of the interim order which was rejected in September, 2021 and the Ministry was asked to allow women to appear for the examinations to be conducted in November, 2021.


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