Delhi HC will hear all plea against Agnipath Scheme on August 25

A view of Delhi High Court. File

A view of Delhi High Court. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi High Court on July 20 said it will hear all petitions related to the Agnipath Scheme on August 25.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad that the Supreme Court had on July 19 transferred all petitions pending before different judicial fora to be decided by the Delhi High Court.

The bench posted the hearing in the matter for August 25 noting that it was yet to receive all the transferred petitions.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had made the Delhi High Court the core forum to examine the question of the legality of the Agnipath recruitment scheme to the Armed Forces noting that multiple litigation on the Agnipath scheme is “neither desirable nor proper”.

Also read: Explained | Why is Agnipath under widespread attack? 

The top court had noted that petitions, either challenging Agnipath or seeking directions to the Centre and the Armed Forces to complete recruitment process started before the scheme, were pending in various High Courts.

Other than in Delhi High Court, petitions on Agnipath are pending in the High Courts of Kerala, Patna, Punjab and Haryana, Uttarakhand and even in the Armed Forces Tribunal at Kochi.

The apex court had said the other High Courts could either transfer their cases, with the permission of the petitioners, to Delhi or keep those petitions pending there and allow the petitioners to intervene in the proceedings in Delhi. The same course of action could be taken by High Courts in case petitions challenging Agnipath are filed in the future.

The Delhi High Court is already seized of multiple petitions to direct the Armed Forces to resume the recruitment process cancelled due to the introduction of the Agnipath scheme. In one of these petitions, over 20 candidates short-listed for position of ‘Airmen’, following a 2020 recruitment process initiated by the Indian Air Force, have urged the government to publish the enrolment list.

Another petition was filed by a candidate Rahul who had applied for Soldier General Duty in Army Recruitment Rally at Sirsa in 2020. The plea stated that the Army after conducting the physical and medical examination in 2021 postponed the recruitment process due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the same kept postponed from time to time.

Rahul in his plea, filed through advocate Vijay Ahlawat, said that after the announcement of the Agnipath Scheme for Armed Forces Recruitment, the Centre has stopped and cancelled all pending processes including the Common Entrance Examination (CEE) of Indian Army Recruitment for the previous recruiting years.

In the apex court, advocate M.L. Sharma has challenged the Agnipath scheme on the ground that the scheme would cause “serious injury” to citizens, the institution of the Armed Forces and the country as a whole.

Mr. Sharma had contended that the Armed Forces cannot discriminate with a policy which drops 75% of those inducted after a period of four years’ service without even pension.

Another petition before the apex court filed by advocate Harsh Ajay Singh argued that a mere four-year tenure would not equip young men and women, personally and professionally, to face a competitive world outside the Armed Forces.

Other petitions complained about how the ongoing recruitment process to the Armed Forces was derailed with the declaration of the Agnipath scheme. In some cases, candidates had successfully completed their tests and were waiting for their appointment letters before Agnipath hit them.

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Printable version | Jul 20, 2022 7:45:00 pm |