Published on: 7 August 2023 at 12:06 IST
The Supreme Court has taken action on a petition challenging the reservation of vacancies for male candidates in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) posts within the Indian Army.
The plea, filed by two female JAG aspirants represented by advocate Mandeep Kalra, asserts that the recent notification on January 18, which reserves six out of nine posts for male candidates, infringes upon equal opportunities for women.
In response to the plea, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Central government, calling for their response to the matter.
A bench comprising Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Pankaj Mithal passed an order on August 4, also ruling that two of the notified vacancies should not be filled temporarily until the case is further heard. The court scheduled the next hearing for four weeks later.
The petitioners argued that despite securing the fourth and fifth ranks among female candidates, they were unable to make it to the merit list due to the quota system favoring male candidates.
They contended that the unequal sex-based distribution of vacancies as per the January 18 notification violates the constitutional guarantees of non-discrimination (Article 14) and equality (Article 15).
Furthermore, the petition raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the selection process, as marks are not disclosed at various stages, and shortlisted candidates are not provided with the grounds for rejection.
The plea suggested that such inconsistencies in the selection procedure should be set aside based on the principles of Natural Justice, Equity, and Good Conscience.
Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing the petitioners, defended their decision to directly approach the Supreme Court, citing the court’s previous consideration of pleas addressing gender inequality in the armed forces.
The Supreme Court agreed to examine the case and issued a notice to the Central government, seeking their response.
The petitioners were represented by a team of advocates, including Jhanvi Dubey, Radhika Narula, Divya Singh Pundir, Suvangana Agarwal, Rishabh Lekhi, Tanya Singh, Devesh Mohan, Anushna Satapathy, Chitrangada Singh, and Anjali Goyal.