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Can't delay admitting girls in Indian Military College, SC tells Centre

Source: PTI
September 22, 2021 17:00 IST
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to file an affidavit within two weeks on the issue of induction of girls in the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) in Dehradun saying the issue cannot be delayed further.

Lt Bhavana Kasturi, Indian Army

Image used only for representational purpose. Photograph: Kind courtesy Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi

A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul said the defence forces having charted a course forward in the National Defence Academy (NDA), issue of admission of girls in RIMC has to be addressed and cannot be postponed.

"We are told the last date for submission of application forms is October 30 and the exam is scheduled for December 18. The Additional Solicitor General (ASG) informs that a separate committee has been formed to iron out creases for induction of women as in case of NDA to address the issues so far as RIMC is concerned.

"Be that as it may, one would expect the complete system to be in place as stated by ASG by May 2022. This leaves us to the question what happens to the exam which is now to be scheduled as we have permitted women candidates to compete for NDA. That being the position we would require the ASG to file an affidavit within two weeks," the bench also comprising Justice B R Gavai said in its order

At the outset, ASG Aishwarya Bhati submitted that they are going to conduct a study with regard to intake of women in Rashtriya Indian Military College.

"With regard to sainik schools, an experiment was started in Mizoram. With the doors of NDA being opened, entry of girls in RIMS would also be looked into. We would be taking all suggestions of alumni and other intervenors. They can submit representation and they will be considered by the study group," the ASG said.

The apex court said, "You had taken time from us in July to come out with some answers. What have you done in these months."

The ASG replied that earlier there was a resistance as in the case of NDA but now RIMC has to follow the suit.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Kailas Udhavrao More who has raised the issue of entry of girls to the RIMC Dehradun.

One of the alumni associations, appearing as intervenor in the case, argued that an important aspect of teacher student ratio aspect will have to be looked into as it may not be appropriate to have 90 per cent male teachers in the institute.

The bench, however, said, "In our school times most of the teachers were males. Hardly any females. today the ground reality is completely different . Let's not make it a gender issue. We do agree that the presence of some female teachers is necessary. These are structural issues that will be looked into."

The alumni association said that keeping in mind that there is a big element of physical training, the study group formed by the Centre has to look into this.

"We have categorically said it is a welcome step. The second step is with regard to infrastructure relating to accommodation," the association submitted.

Recounting his personal experience, Justice Kaul said," In my alma mater St Stephens college, out of six hostels one was designated for women. Today the position is that half of the hostels are for men. This is a continuing process. Change will not occur in one day. The idea is to begin the process and give it a push and people who run the system will come out with a solution."

The bench after hearing the parties posted the matter for hearing on October 7.

Earlier in July, the apex court had said as far as Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) is concerned, it is stated that it is a 99 years old institution which will complete 100 years next year.

"The question is whether it completes its 100 years with gender neutrality or not!" the top court had said.

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