'It is a Half-Baked reform': PIL before Supreme Court seeks reconsideration of Agnipath Scheme

Read Time: 05 minutes

A PIL has been filed before the Top Court seeking a direction to the Union of India through its Ministries and Department of Military Affairs for reconsideration of the ‘Agnipath’ Scheme.

The plea also seeks a direction for the constitution of a committee for providing inputs to the Department of Military Affairs, Ministry of Defence and also to invite the suggestions of the stakeholders of job aspirants of armed forces and of the retired Army officers for amendments to Agnipath Scheme for providing Job Opportunities to 75% Agniveers, post-retirement.

The Indian military had formulated the PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank) recruitment strategy termed as ‘Agniveer’ on a ‘Tour of duty’ to protect our motherland — with the twin objective of a more youthful military and economizing pension pay-outs.

On June 14, 2022, the government announced that the recruitment of the Indian army would be under National Agnipath Scheme. As per the scheme, 46,000 youth in the 17.5 years to 21 years age group will get a four-year tenure including 6 months of training. At the end of four years, 75% of the Agniveers would be retired without pension or gratuity.

Alleging that it is a half-baked reform with multiple ramifications, the plea states,

"There are various shortcomings in this reform and with further discussion it would have been executed as a better reform. But as usual it was pushed from top by politicians and bureaucrats with 3 chiefs left to defend the indefensible."

Filed and drawn by Advocate Harsh Ajay Singh, the plea states that the nation should never compromise with the army personnel, making up the fighting sinews of its armed forces. They shouldn’t be looked upon as a burden to the exchequer, but as rough diamonds, to be cut and polished to their maximum capabilities and then deployed in the defense of the nation. 

The PIL also cites widespread protest in many states of the country including Bihar, UP, Haryana, Telangana, Uttrakhand, West Bengal, etc., that ensued upon the announcement of the scheme.

Advocate Kumud Lata Das is the counsel on behalf of the petitioner.

Last week, on a similar note, a Public Interest Litigation was moved before the Supreme Court seeking direction for the formation of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the violent protests against the 'Agnipath Scheme'.

Also, another Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Agnipath Scheme by Advocate ML Sharma stating that the notification being contrary to the constitution is a serious injury to the citizen of India including to the Indian army which cannot be repaired if not quashed.