Agnipath: Plea in SC seeks SIT probe into violence
New Delhi, Jun 18: A plea has been filed in Supreme Court seeking directions to setup a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to enquire about the violent protests against the 'Agnipath' recruit scheme which launched by the NDA government recently, news agency ANI reported.
The PIL has been filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, who also sought directions to the Centre and Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Haryana and Rajasthan governments to submit a status report on the violent protests, PTI reported.
Tiwari in his plea also sought a direction to set up an expert committee under the chairmanship of retired apex court judge to examine the scheme and its impact on national security and Army. He further sought directions to the Centre and the states arrayed as parties to appoint claim commissioners under the guidelines laid down by the apex court in its verdict of 2009 passed in a suo motu case initiated after incidents of damages to public properties.
"The petitioner through this present Public Interest Litigation (Civil) under Article 32 of the Constitution of India would like to bring to the court's 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 said.
It said that the consequence has been far reaching for the citizens of this country resulting in intensified vandalism and protest leading to severe destruction of public property and goods. "The country is yet again witnessing another such societal upset and fatal condition due to the recent launch of the Agnipath scheme dated June 14, 2022 by the Respondent No. 1 through its Ministry of Defence.
Protests erupted in several states across the country against the 'Agnipath' scheme. Trains were set afire, window panes of buses smashed and passersby, including a ruling BJP MLA, pelted with stones in Bihar by Army job aspirants whose protest against the short-term recruitment scheme.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry Saturday announced to reserve 10 per cent vacancies for recruitment in the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles for 'Agniveers', the Home Minister's Office said. The announcement comes amid widespread protests against the recently unveiled 'Agnipath' scheme for recruitment of soldiers in the armed forces on a short-term contractual basis.
The soldiers recruited under this scheme will be called 'Agniveers'. "The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decides to reserve 10% vacancies for recruitment in CAPFs and Assam Rifles for Agniveers," the Home Minister's Office said in a tweet. The MHA also announced age relaxation for 'Agniveers' for recruitment in the CAPFs and Assam Rifles.
In its second tweet, the Home Minister's Office said, "The MHA also decides to give 3 years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to 'Agniveers' for recruitment in CAPFs & Assam Rifles. Further, for the first batch of 'Agniveer', the age relaxation will be for 5 years beyond the prescribed upper age limit."
Unveiling the scheme on Tuesday, the government had said youngsters between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure, while 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained for regular service.
In view of protests against the new model for enrollment of soldiers into the three services, Defence Ministry on Thursday on Thursday said the government granted a one-time waiver in the upper age limit for 'Agnipath' scheme by extending it to 23 years from 21 years for the first year.