Govt proposal was to allow girls sit for the exam in June next
The Supreme Court on Thursday emphasised that girls should not lose their opportunity to take the entrance exam in December 2021 for admission to the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC).
A Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul did not agree with the government’s proposal to allow girls sit for the exam in June next rather than December 18, 2021.
The court reasoned that if the government has not shied away from admitting girls into elite military institutions for a career in the armed forces, it should not have problems in making the necessary preparations for having them write the entrance exam in December 2021 itself
“If you have walked a mile, should not walk another step ahead?” Justice Kaul asked the government side.
The court said admission of women candidates would take place only by January 2023 if they were allowed to take their exam in June next. This would delay the actual entry into the RIMC by a whole year. The exam notification could be modified, without changing any dates, to inform that girls would be allowed to take the exam in December.
The hearing on Thursday unspoiled as a sequel to a September 22 hearing by the same Bench, which had pushed the armed forces to live up to its reputation as “the best response team we have” to stand up to an emergency, iron out creases and make history happen by allowing women to write the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam in November 2021.
‘Not shying away’
On Thursday, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati said the government was not “running away” from its obligations to allow women entry into the RIMC. “Initially, yes, there was some reluctance, but with My Lords’ advice we are going ahead with it. We are not shying away…”. The military establishment was only seeking some time to make preparations for women students, she noted.
The court said six months was more than enough for disciplines organisations like the RIMC to make the preparations.
However, the court stated, it would allow the same “leeway” for the RIMC as permitted in the September 22 order regarding NDA admissions.
In the September order, the court had given the Defence department leeway to set tentative medical and fitness parameters for women candidates.
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