Denial of admission for women to the National Defence Academy has been challenged by a petitioner in the Supreme Court, which has asked the centre to respond to it.
The petition filed by Kush Kalra, an advocate, said women being not allowed admission to the National Defence Academy (NDA) is a violation of fundamental right of equality and right to practice a profession.
The NDA is the country's joint military training institution for producing junior leaders for the armed forces.
The petition said eligible women candidates with 10+2 level of education are denied an opportunity to take the NDA examination on the ground of their gender, and the consequence of this denial is that they do not have access to any mode of entry to the armed forces as officers at this level.
The petition said the number of women in the armed forces is extremely low, though over the years the defence services have opened more doors for women, especially after the Supreme Court allowed women to join Permanent Commission.
The NDA denies admission solely based on gender and does not give any justifiable explanation for it, the petition said.
A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde then issued notice to the centre, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and others seeking their response.
"The act of the respondents to categorically exclude eligible and willing female candidates from appearing for the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination over the years, solely on the ground of sex, is a violation of the fundamental right of equality before the law and equal protection of the law," the petition said.
"This opportunity to take the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination at the age of 15-18 years, with the eligible academic qualifications is not available to eligible and willing female candidates and the sole reason for this categorical exclusion is on the basis of their sex," the plea said.
The petition said the duration of training for Short Service Commission women officers is less compared to the training that a male Permanent Commission officer, who gets entry through the NDA, gains.