Agnipath scheme in national interest, says Delhi HC
The scheme allows 25 per cent of them to be granted regular service subsequently. After the scheme was unveiled, protests erupted in several states against the scheme.
Published: 27th February 2023 01:03 PM | Last Updated: 28th February 2023 08:05 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: Rejecting a group of pleas against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, the Delhi High Court on Monday upheld the validity of the central scheme and concluded that it was made in the national interest.
A bench presided over by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad said there is no reason to interfere in the matter. The court also dismissed the pleas including some related to the recruitment process for the armed forces under certain previous advertisements.
It was clarified by the court that such candidates do not have a right to seek recruitment. Earlier on December 15 last year, the court had reserved its verdict. The central scheme was unveiled on June 14, 2022, and lays out rules for the recruitment of youth in the armed forces.
According to these rules, those between 17-and-a-half and 21 years of age are eligible to apply and they would be inducted for a four-year tenure. The scheme allows 25 per cent of them to be granted regular service subsequently. 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.
Earlier during the arguments, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati and central government standing counsel Harish Vaidyanathan, representing the Centre, had said the Agnipath scheme is one of the biggest policy changes in defence recruitment and was going to bring a paradigm shift in the way the armed forces recruit personnel.
“More than 10 lakh aspirants have taken advantage of the two-year age relaxation given by us. A lot of things we cannot say on affidavit, but we have acted in bona fide manner,” the ASG has said. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners in a petition concerning the cancellation of the recruitment processes for the armed forces under certain previous advertisements, had said the government did not stop all recruitments in June 2021 and some of the recruitment processes were held even in August 2021 and at the beginning of 2022.
The high court had also asked the Centre to justify different pay scales of ‘Agniveers’ and regular sepoys in the Indian Army if their job profile is the same. Defending its Agnipath scheme, the Centre has said a large amount of study has gone into this policy and it was not a decision that was taken lightly and the Union of India was mindful and cognisant of the situation.