Delhi HC rejects petitions challenging Agnipath Scheme's constitutional validity
The Delhi High Court on Monday rejected petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Agnipath Scheme for entry into the Indian Armed Forces. A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed the petitions, stating the scheme was implemented in the "national interest." "This court finds no reason to interfere with the scheme. All petitions are dismissed," it said.
Why does this story matter?
- The Agnipath Scheme recruits Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel on four-year contracts with an aim to lower the average age of members and minimize pension costs.
- However, the recruitment scheme has been met with skepticism, with protesters expressing concern that, given the tenure, only 25% would be eligible for pensions.
- The scheme also lacked steady jobs and healthcare for retirees, claimed protesters.
10 lakh applicants received benefit of age relaxation: ASG
Appearing for the central government, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati told the HC bench that more than 10 lakh applicants had received the benefit of age relaxation. "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 said.
Those having any problem with scheme should not join: HC
The bench had earlier directed petitioners challenging the Centre's short-term military recruiting scheme to identify the violations of their rights and noted it was voluntary and those with issues should not join the armed forces under the scheme. The high court also stated that the scheme was developed by experts from the Army, Navy, and Air Force and that judges were not military experts.
Indian Army changed recruitment process for Agniveers
Separately, the recruitment process for Agniveers in the Indian Army was changed earlier this month. Candidates who want to join the force will have to first take an online Common Entrance Examination (CEE) at designated centers, according to the new notification. It stated that only successful candidates with above 25% marks would be called for the next round of the selection process.
A little about the Agnipath Scheme
Agnipath Scheme is a nationwide merit-based recruitment process for the Army, Air Force, and Navy. Candidates, aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years (23 years for the 2022 batch), recruited under this are called Agniveers, who get the opportunity to serve the forces for four years. Following that, 25% of them will be permanently inducted based on merit, willingness, and medical fitness.