Sunday, December 10, 2023

Delhi High Court reserves verdict on pleas challenging Agnipath scheme, seeking recruitment through previous Defence scheme

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The High Court of Delhi on Thursday reserved verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the Agnipath Scheme introduced by the Central government in June this year, besides seeking resumption and enrollment as per the previous recruitment scheme in Defence services.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad heard the arguments made by Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Union of India.

Bhati apprised the Court that the scheme would not make a qualitative difference or quantitative difference, but would bring about a paradigm shift in the recruitment process of the armed forces in the country.

Calling it as one of the biggest changes in the policy of Defence recruitment, Bhati said the Indian Army, which started off as the British Army, has evolved over the years.

She added that the government has taken a policy decision in introducing the scheme, which has been carried out uniformly across the services in question.

The Counsel for the Centre said that the Union government has been trying its best to go ahead with recruitment in whatever manner possible.

The decision taken at the highest levels of governance, something that has come out of this study, was now on the horizon, the modalities were being worked out and it was clear that the scheme was going to be a paradigm shift, she added.

The Apex Court today, while hearing the pleas challenging the scheme, also heard other petitioners seeking enrollment as per the previous recruitment scheme.

Bhati had apprised the top court of the country on Wednesday that the decision to introduce the scheme was not taken lightly and that a lot of study has gone into the policy. 

She also submitted that the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was presently working on skill-mapping of Agniveers. 

In an affidavit submitted earlier, the Union of India had submitted that the objective of the scheme was to have a young combat force, which was physically and mentally capable of taking the new challenges anticipated by experts.

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