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Delhi High Court: Priority to Plea Challenging Centre’s Agnipath Scheme Before Taking Recruitment Concerning

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Delhi High Court Law Insider

Sarthak Umang

Published on: 21 November 2022 at 18:28 IST

The Delhi High Court posted the hearing on the pleas challenging the Agnipath scheme on December 12.

The Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed said it will hear a batch of pleas challenging the scheme.

“We will first hear the Agniveer matter. The core issue here is Agniveer. This is our opinion. If this issue is decided this way or that way, it will have some bearing on other cases,”

The Bench directed the Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati to set apart from the rest, petitons which are challenging the agnipath scheme.

In affidavit, the Centre had defended the Agnipath scheme saying that its biggest aim is to enhance the youthful profile of Armed Forces, the ‘leader to led’ ratio will become 1:1 from the current ratio of 1:1.28.

The Supreme Court designated the Delhi High Court as the primary forum in July of this year to investigate the issue of the validity of the Agnipath recruitment system for the Armed Forces, noting that various legal proceedings regarding the Agnipath plan are “neither desirable nor proper.”

As a result, the High Court is currently dealing with numerous petitions challenging the plan.

The court also granted liberty to the parties to file any other additional reply or rejoinder in the matter before the next date of hearing. Some of the petitioners have filed their rejoinders while others are yet to do it.

Many aspirants have petitioned the court to order the Armed Forces to resume the recruitment process that was halted when the Agnipath plan was implemented.

The Center, on the other hand, has countered that no appointment letter has ever been given to applicants who responded to various job postings that were, respectively, published by the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy.

The Center noted that a large portion of the recruiting process prior to the establishment of the Agnipath plan was at the “nascent stage” and that the government was free to stop the ongoing recruitment process and create a new recruitment scheme.

The Agnipath scheme, introduced on June 14, outlines the rules and regulations for recruiting young people in the armed forces.  These regulations state that applicants must be between the ages of 17 and a half and 21. If accepted, they would serve a four-year term before 25% of them were given regular duty.  After the scheme was unveiled, protests erupted in several states against the scheme.

Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.

The petitions before the Supreme Court have sought a direction to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the damage to public properties, including that of the Railways, during the violent protests against the scheme.