Agnipath’: Must Hear Us Before Any Decision, Centre Tells Supreme Court

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The centre has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court urging that the court “must hear its side” before taking any decision on the petitions challenging the ‘Agnipath’ military recruitment scheme.
So far, three petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court against ‘Agnipath’- the centre’s short-term recruitment plan for the armed forces. The caveat, however, does not mention any plea in particular.

A caveat is filed to ensure that no adverse order is passed against the litigant without being heard.

Advocate Harsh Ajay Singh on Monday filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking issuance of directions to the centre to reconsider its ‘Agnipath’ recruitment plan. The petition also mentioned that the announcement of the scheme caused protests in several parts of the country.

Earlier, two separate petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against the scheme by lawyers ML Sharma and Vishal Tiwari respectively.

The petition filed by advocate ML Sharma had alleged that the government has quashed the century-old selection process for the armed forces which is contrary to the constitutional provisions and without having parliamentary approval.

Last week, advocate Vishal Tiwari in his petition urged the Supreme Court to set up a committee to examine the scheme and its impact on national security and Army. It 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.

Protests broke out in several states after the centre unveiled the ‘Agnipath’ scheme on June 14. Under the scheme, people between 17.5 and 21 years will be recruited in armed forces for a four-year period, followed by compulsory retirement for most without gratuity and pension benefits.

Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022 in a bid to pacify the protesters.

Several opposition parties, as well as some military veterans, have criticised the scheme, They say that the four-year tenure will hit the fighting spirit of the soldiers and make them risk-averse.

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