Delhi High Court grants four weeks to Centre for filing detailed reply in pleas challenging Agnipath Scheme

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In the last few months, many pleas have been filed in the High Courts as well as the Supreme Court challenging the Agnipath Scheme introduced by the Central Government for recruitment in all three divisions of defense.

The Delhi High Court today granted four weeks to the Centre for filing a detailed reply in the batch of plea’s that have challenged the Agnipath Recruitment Scheme.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramoniam Prasad will hear the matter now on October 18.

When the hearing began, counsel for the petitioners told court that the matter involved serious questions and it must be heard.

To this CJ Sharma responded by saying that, "Of course it will be heard, what makes you think it will not be heard!"

The Court then asked ASG Aishwarya Bhati as to how much time the government needed to file a reply. 

ASG Bhati then requested the Court to grant one week's time.

Court while granting four weeks said that the case also required replies on related pleas filed by Airmen, Sailors etc which would require more than a week.

On July 19, a Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and AS Bopanna transferred the plea(s) challenging the Agnipath scheme and seeking continuation of recruitment for the forces to Delhi High Court.

Top Court had then observed that it would be appropriate if it gets a view of the High Court in this regard. 

It was further observed by the top court that pleas challenging validity of Agnipath scheme or directions to centre/armed forces to complete recruitment process was initiated earlier and that Kerala, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, Patna and Uttarakhand High Courts are hearing the matters and proceedings have been initiated before Armed Forces Tribunal, Kochi.

Accordingly, top court was of the view that multiplicity of petitions on the subject will not be desirable or proper.

The Agnipath scheme provides for the recruitment of youths in the defence forces Army between the age of 17-and-a-half and 21 for four years with a provision to retain 25 percent of them for 15 more years.