The Delhi High Court has ruled that barring women from joining the Territorial Army (TA), was “ultra vires fundamental rights provided under the Constitution. “
The Territorial Army acts as the second line of defence after the regular Army, and counts among its honorary members eminent persons like actor Mohanlal and cricketers Kapil Dev and M S Dhoni.
With this judgement, the recruitment of women into the TA has become a possibility.
Institutionalised Discrimination Against Women
The judgement was passed in a PIL which alleged discrimination against women in recruitment in the TA.
The TA is largely made up of volunteers who receive military training in order to be mobilised to act in the country’s defence in case of an emergency.
The petition filed by advocate Kush Kalra pointed out that it was “institutionalised discrimination” against women for not being allowed to join the TA.
A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar stated that the words “any person” found in section 6 of the TA Act, shall mean both men and women.
Therefore any provision of the Act that bans recruitment of women into the TA would be violating the fundamental rights of equality as provided by relevant Articles of the Constitution.