Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Agnipath Scheme: Centre moves caveat in Supreme Court

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A caveat has been filed in the Supreme Court by the Central Government requesting the Apex Court “to hear the government side” before any decision is taken on the petition that challenged the military recruitment scheme of Agnipath.

Three petitions have so far been filed in the Supreme Court against the military recruitment scheme Agnipath. The scheme is a short-term recruitment plan for the armed forces.

A plea was filed in the Supreme Court by advocate Harsh Ajay Singh on Monday seeking issuance of directions to the Centre to reconsider its Agnipath recruitment scheme since there had been widespread protests in several parts of the country.

Another two petitions are already filed in the same regard earlier by lawyers ML Sharma and Vishal Tiwari, respectively.

ML Sharma’s petition, the first, stated that it is contrary to the constitutional provisions that a government has quashed the century-old selection process for the armed forces and that too without parliamentary approval.

Vishal Tiwari, a lawyer, who filed  petition in the similar matter urged the Supreme Court to set up a committee to examine the scheme and its impact on national security and Army.

The petition also sought a direction from the top court to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the large-scale violence against the scheme that led to the destruction of public property.

After the Centre unveiled Agnipath, protests broke out in several states on June 14. The point of contention was that under the scheme, people between 17.5 and 21 years will be recruited in armed forces for a four-year contact, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.

The Government later on added a few points like extending the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022 and reservation in central armed police to pacify the protesters.

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