Agnipath In Court: Govt’s Caveat In Supreme Court To Hear “Centre First”

| Updated: June 21, 2022 9:31 am

The Centre, on Tuesday, filed a caveat in the Supreme Court, urging that the Court must hear its side before taking any decision on the petitions challenging the Agnipath military recruitment scheme.

So far, three petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the controversial Agnipath recruitment scheme to the Armed forces. The Centre’s caveat, however, does not mention any plea in particular.

On Monday, an advocate filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking issuance of directions from the Centre to reconsider the controversial Agnipath recruitment scheme to the Armed forces.

The plea, filed in the Apex court by advocate M L Sharma, has sought to quash the June 14 notification on Agnipath Scheme claiming it to be “illegal and unconstitutional.” It further alleges that the government quashed the century-old selection process for the Armed Forces which is contrary to the Constitutional provisions and without having Parliamentary approval. The plea adds that the scheme will cause “serious injury” to citizens, the institution of the Armed forces and the country as a whole.

Adv. Sharma noted that the Supreme Court had recently stepped in to ensure gender equality and protected the Fundamental Rights of women officers who sought permanent commission in the Army. On basis of the same, he questioned the policy that proposes to drop 75% of those inducted after a four-year service, without pension.

The Agnipath “Tour-Of-Duty” Scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths between the age bracket of 17-and-a-half-years to 21 for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Protests have erupted in several states against the scheme. Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.

Last week, a separate petition was filed in the top court seeking a direction to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the damage to public properties including that of railways, and violent protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme.

The plea sought directions to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana, and Rajasthan governments to submit a status report on the violent protests. It urged for an expert committee under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge to examine the scheme and its impact on national security and the Army.

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