The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to explain why the intake of women candidates in the upcoming National Defence Academy (NDA) session of 2022 has been limited to just 19the same as 2021despite assurances last year that the number would be increased. The NDA exams are held twice a year: NDA-I in the first half, and NDA-II in the second half.The matter surfaced after senior counsel Chinmoy Pradip Sharma and advocate Mohit Paul complained that the new notification for the NDA-I exam 2022 issued by the Union Public Services Commission restricted the intake of women cadets to only 19. The lawyers, who were representing petitioner Kush Kalra, argued that the number had been arbitrarily picked based on the 2021 NDA-II exam, which inducted 10 women cadets in the army, three in the navy and six in the air force. The lawyers mentioned that in their affidavit of September 2021, the Centre had promised a full intake of women by getting the required infrastructure ready.Since these arguments held merit, the Supreme Court bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh asked additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati, who was representing the Union government, to submit an explanation on the matter. The last exam was under a little push and nudge from the court and you were saying that there was a little problem to get the infrastructure ready, the bench noted. So, we also said let it be, as we wanted the induction to start. But you certainly said that by May 2022 you will be fully ready. How have you now fixed the figure at 19 for 2022 based on the examination you conducted in 2021 as an ad hoc measure?Bhati argued that the intake restriction was based not just on infrastructural facilities in the NDA but also on the requirements of the armed forces. Since this was the first time the Centre talked about the requirement of the armed forces, the bench asked for additional details to be filed by the Centre not just regarding the intake of women cadets in the NDA but also the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and the Rashtriya Military School (RMS). Bhati requested the bench for a time of three weeks to file the required affidavit, which the bench conceded while adding that the intake of women cadets should be based on criteria that can stand the test of time. The induction of women in the NDA, RIMC and RMS should also be based on the judicial pronouncements of the Supreme Court related to the permanent commission to women in armed forces.