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Delhi High Court yet to receive Agnipath PILs transferred by Supreme Court – Deccan Herald

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said it will hear on August 25 a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s Agnipath scheme as it is yet to receive the files of pleas transferred to it by the Supreme Court.
A bench of Delhi High Court Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the apex court on July 19 transferred here all the pleas pending before it challenging the scheme for recruitment in the armed forces.
The top court has also asked the high courts of Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, Patna and Uttarakhand to transfer the PILs against the Agnipath scheme pending before them to the Delhi High Court or keep it pending till a decision from the Delhi High Court is delivered, if the petitioners before it so desire.
Also Read | ‘You are not an Agniveer’: Supreme Court tells lawyer challenging Agnipath scheme
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court bench said the transferred petitions are not before it and the matter be listed for hearing after two weeks.
The Agnipath scheme, announced on June 14, provides for the recruitment of youths in the defence forces between the age of 17-and-a-half and 21 for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years. Protests had erupted in several states soon after the scheme was announced last month.
Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment under the scheme in 2022.
During the hearing, the solicitor general informed the high court about the order passed by the apex court on Tuesday and “within two-three days, the matters which are transferred by the Supreme Court to the Delhi High Court will be here. We are here to assist the court”.
The bench said, “The petitions filed before the Supreme Court are yet to be received by the Registry of this court. The petitions before other high courts have to be given time to exercise their option in accordance with the directions issued by the Supreme Court…List the matter after two weeks.”
The apex court had said that a copy of this order be placed on record and all the petitioners would be at liberty to move the applications before the Delhi High Court.
“We request the Delhi High Court for expeditious disposal of the writ petitions after hearing the parties,” it had said, adding that the Union of India shall ensure that a copy of this order is immediately placed before the registrar judicial of the concerned high courts.
Also Read | AAP claims candidates’ caste being asked in Agniveer recruitment; Defence Minister dismisses ‘rumour’
There were three petitions on the Agnipath scheme before the apex court.
The petitions before the Supreme Court have sought a direction to set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the damage to public properties, including that of Railways, during violent protests against the scheme.
In the apex court, the counsel for one Harsh Ajay Singh had said that they have challenged the Centre’s scheme meant for recruitment in the Armed forces.
Advocate ML Sharma, who had also filed a separate petition in the top court, had said he sought cancellation of the government’s notification about the scheme as more than 70,000 aspirants who have undergone training were waiting for their appointment letters before the pandemic and now their career has been shortened by the scheme.
Before the Delhi High Court, one of the petitions has sought a direction to the armed forces to resume the recruitment process cancelled due to introduction of the Agnipath scheme and prepare the final merit list after conducting a written examination within a stipulated time.
Also Read | Manish Tiwari refuses to sign Opposition letter on ‘Agnipath’ scheme
Petitioner Rahul has submitted that he had applied for the post of soldier general duty and other candidates, besides this post, had applied for the posts of soldier technical, soldier technical (aviation/ammunition examiner), soldier technical nursing assistant/ nursing assistant veterinary, soldier clerk/ store keeper technical/ inventory management and soldier trade man in the Indian Army.
The plea said the petitioner along with others applied for the respective posts and their physical and medical examinations were also conducted and he cleared it successfully and was waiting for the written examination.
However, the petitioner found on the official website of the authorities that consequent to the implementation of the Agnipath scheme, the ministry has stopped and cancelled all pending processes including Common Entrance Examination (CEE) of the Indian Army recruitment for the previous recruiting years.
Another petition has sought to complete the recruitment process in the Indian Air Force as per a 2019 notification, without being affected by the Agnipath scheme, is also pending in the high court.
Another plea relates to early hearing application in a pending petition which challenges the Indian Navy’s employment advertisement reserving its right for shortlisting applicants by increasing the cut-off marks obtained by them in class 12 examination, claiming that it was contrary to the already laid down eligibility criteria in the advertisement after their applications were received for recruitment as Person Below Officer Rank (PBOR) in the force.
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