‘Hear us before taking any decision’, Centre to SC on pleas against Agnipath scheme

New Delhi: Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane addresses during the annual press conference at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The Central government has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court regarding the petitions in connection with the ‘Agnipath’ scheme, to induct youth into all three-armed forces divisions, saying the court should hear it before taking any decision.

Three petitions have been filed so far in the apex court in connection with the Agnipath scheme. However, the caveat did not cite any particular plea.

A plea filed by advocate M.L. Sharma sought a direction from the top court to quash the notification issued on June 14 by the Ministry of Defence announcing the scheme.

The plea said a large section of youth have started protesting against the scheme in various parts of the country.

The plea said: “According to the impugned press note…dated 14.06.2022 after 4 years out of 100 per cent selected candidates for Permanent Commission in Indian Army 25 per cent will be continued in Indian Army force and the rest 75 per cent will be retired /denied jobs in the Indian Army. During 4 years they will be paid salary and perks, but after 4 years denied candidates will get no pension, etc.”

Sharma’s plea said the Central government, contrary to the constitutional provisions and without having approval from Parliament and without any gazette notification, quashed the century-old army selection process and imposed the scheme on the country.

Another plea was filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, last week, seeking a direction to set up a committee to examine the scheme and its impact on national security and the Army. On Tuesday, a plea was mentioned before the Supreme Court seeking a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into the violent protests against the scheme.

A bench of Justices C.T. Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia directed that the matter be placed before Chief Justice N.V. Ramana to examine the request for early listing.

After the Central government announced the scheme, protests broke out in several parts of the country. According to the scheme, candidates between 17.5 – 21 years will be recruited in the armed forces for a four-year period. However, after the protests broke out, the Central government increased the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.

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