Pinnacle Court to look at next week pleas challenging Agnipath scheme

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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to list next week, subject to the Chief Justice's approval, petitions challenging the Central government's Agnipath scheme to induct youth into all three-armed forces divisions.

A counsel mentioned the petition before a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari. 

The counsel representing the defense force aspirants sought urgent hearing within the matter and added that the scheme shouldn't be made applicable to people who are already undergoing the choice process. She further contended that the matter was urgent, because the career of several aspirants was at stake and observed that implementation of the scheme will decrease the tenure of the aspirants to 4 years from 20 years. 

The counsel said despite several mentionings, the registry has not given a selected date and urged the highest court to administer a date for hearing on the matter.

Advocate M.L. Sharma also mentioned his plea seeking a direction from the highest court to quash the notification issued on June 14, 2022, by the Ministry of Defence announcing the scheme. Sharma said the govt can bring out any scheme but it's about right and wrong. He added that quite 70,000 are still awaiting appointment letters. After hearing the arguments, the holiday bench said: "List it before the suitable bench after reopening".

Sharma's plea said an outsized section of youth have started protesting against the scheme in various parts of the country. It said: "According to the impugned press note... dated 14.06.2022 after 4 years out of 100 per cent selected candidates for Permanent Commission within the Indian Army 25 per cent are going to be continued in Indian Army force and therefore the rest 75 per cent are going to be retired /denied jobs within the Indian army. During 4 years they're going to be paid salary and perks, but after 4 years denied candidates will get no pension etc." 

Another plea has been filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari seeking a direction to line up a committee to look at the scheme and its impact on national security and therefore the Army. The Central government has filed a caveat within the Supreme Court regarding the petitions in reference to the 'Agnipath' scheme, saying the court should hear it before taking any decision.