Agnipath: Supreme Court transfers petitions against scheme to Delhi HC
The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred three petitions challenging the Agnipath scheme for armed forces recruitment to the Delhi High Court. The top court also directed high courts of other states to transfer their petitions while also offering petitioners the alternative to intervene in the Delhi HC proceedings. The pleas seek to quash the central government scheme that alters recruitment into the armed forces.
Why does this story matter?
The Agnipath scheme to recruit "Agniveers" was launched by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government in June. It aims to introduce short-term recruitment in the armed forces and offers those aged between 17.5 and 21 years only four years of service, after which only 25% are retained. It was met with violent protests across India, with military aspirants being worried about their future.
Top court transfers pleas to Delhi High Court
The SC bench, led by Justice DY Chandrachud, noted that multiple petitions on the scheme are not "desirable" and directed to make Delhi High Court the core forum to analyze the scheme. Petitions questioning the Agnipath scheme are pending before the Kerala, Patna, Punjab and Haryana, and Uttarakhand High Courts. The Supreme Court directed these courts to transfer the cases with the petitioners' consent.
Public interest litigations seek to quash the Agnipath scheme
One of the petitioners—ML Sharma—termed the Agnipath scheme "illegal and unconstitutional," noting it will result in "serious injury" to citizens, the armed forces, and the entire nation. Addressing the violent protests in Telangana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, and other states, Sharma also said a large section of youth stares at a "dark future" and refuses to see soldiering as "a contract job."
Agnipath lands in fresh controversy
Separately, the Opposition attacked the Centre on Tuesday over the inclusion of a caste column in Agnipath recruitment forms and alleged the BJP is trying to create "Jativeers using Agniveers." However, the Indian Army clarified that recruits have always been asked to submit caste and religion certificates "There has been no change in the Agniveer recruitment process," an Indian Army official told India Today.
Protests against Agnipath in Parliament
Protests by the Opposition against Agnipath, among other issues, led to Lok Sabha being adjourned on the second day of Parliament's monsoon session. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Jha submitted a "suspension of business" notice in Rajya Sabha to discuss Agnipath. RJD's Tejashwi Yadav said, "One should not ask the cast of a monk, but BJP wants to know the cast of soldiers."Share this timeline