Agnipath: Hear us before passing orders, Centre tells SC

Centre filed a caveat in Supreme Court, urging that it be heard before the court passes any order on petitions against the Agnipath army recrutiment scheme

Supreme Court Agnipath
CJI to decide listing of PIL on Agnipath: SC bench to petitioner | File Photo

The Centre has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court, urging that it be heard before the court passes any order on petitions against the Agnipath scheme.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari urged a vacation bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia to list the plea for an urgent hearing. Referring to the practice of listing cases during vacation, the bench said, “This matter will be placed before the CJI. The CJI will take a call.”

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The Public Interest Litigation also sought directions to the Centre, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan governments to submit a status report on the violent protests. Tiwari, in his petition, also sought a direction to set up an expert committee under the chairmanship of a retired apex court judge to examine the scheme and its impact on national security and the army.

“The petitioner through this present Public Interest Litigation (Civil) under Article 32 of the Constitution of India would like to bring to the courts attention the devastated condition of the country resulting from the Agnipath scheme launched by the Respondent No.1 (Union of India) through its Ministry of Defence,” the plea read. It said the consequence has been far-reaching for the citizens of this country, resulting in intensified vandalism and protest, and leading to severe destruction of public property and goods.

Another PIL has been filed by lawyer ML Sharma against Agnipath, alleging that the government has quashed the century-old selection process for the armed forces, which is contrary to the constitutional provisions and without parliamentary approval.

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Harsh Ajay Singh who is an advocate, in a plea filed by him, has sought a direction for the constitution of a committee for providing inputs to the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and also to invite suggestions, including from retired Army officers, for amendments to the scheme for providing job opportunities to 75 per cent Agniveers, post retirement.

It is respectfully submitted that the petitioner is genuinely concerned about maintenance of law and order in the country and for inviting the opinion of youths of the country whose future is at stake, said the plea, filed through advocate Kumud Lata Das.

The petition alleged that this is a half-baked reform with multiple ramifications. There are various shortcomings in this reform and with further discussion it would have been executed as a better reform, it said.

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It claimed there is a great possibility of Agniveers trained under the scheme going astray and a four-year recruitment is insufficient to inculcate the values and ethos of the young brigade of Indian armed forces. The petitioner has also sought to stay implementation of the scheme.

Centre’s stance

The Centre in response, has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court and urged that it be heard before the court passes any order on petitions against the Agnipath scheme.

Also Read: Centre defends Agnipath scheme as violence, arson engulf multiple states

(With inputs from agencies)

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