Why only 19 women being taken in NDA, SC questions Centre

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre why only 19 women candidates are being admitted to the National Defence Academy (NDA) of the 400 seats there.

The court observed that the government seemed to have fixed the number of women candidates it would take into the armed forces at 19 and sought to know the reason for this.

“Last year, you said it was due to infrastructure problems (the intake of women will be less)…Now, again for the year 2022, you have proposed to take the same number of women candidates…,” a bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre.

Candidates who take the exam in 2022 will be admitted in 2023.


The court asked the government to submit the number of women candidates and the total number of candidates who had taken the exam in 2021.

The Centre said that the admission of women to NDA was based on the requirement of the force.

“You have to explain this. 19 seats cannot be for all times to come,” the bench said.

The Centre agreed to file a detailed affidavit, explaining why it has taken this stand, within three weeks.

Also read: How induction of women into NDA will revolutionise the armed forces

The court’s observations came on a petition filed by Kush Kalra, who said: “To continue to keep the number of intake of female candidates at only 19 even for the next year, i.e., 2023 and only allowing male candidates in naval entry as per the examination Notice dated December 22, 2021 is arbitrary and violative of Article 14, 15, 16 and 19 of Constitution.”

He also contended that this was against the stance of the government submitted before the court’s rulings on August 18 and September 22 last year.

The petitioner cited an advertisement issued by the UPSC which stated NDA will take in 400 cadets in the 2021 batch. “Of these, 208 candidates, including 10 women, will go to the Army. The Navy will take in 42 candidates, including 3 women, while the IAF will admit 120 candidates, of which 6 will be women. Thus, the total number of women to be inducted into the NDA in June 2022 is 19”, the petitioner’s affidavit said.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing on March 6.