NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday upheld the constitutional validity of the Union government's Agnipath scheme for short term recruitment to armed forces, after finding that it was introduced in national interest.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Subramonium Prasad also rejected a plea to stop the recruitment process, while dismissing the batch of petitions against the scheme.
On June 14, 2022, the Ministry of Defence had announced the scheme, triggering massive protests in several parts of the country.
The scheme was related to recruitment of candidates between 17.5--21 years in armed forces for a four-year period, with a provision to retain 25 % for over 15 years. However, subsequently, the central government increased the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.
On July 19, 2022, the top court had transferred multiple petitions filed before various High Courts across the court to the Delhi High Court.
Maintaining that the scheme was a paradigm shift in the recruitment process of defence personnel, the Central Government had said it was promulgated with the goal of having a young combat force that is physically and mentally capable of meeting the new challenges anticipated by experts.
The ‘Agnipath Scheme’ is a merit-based, transparent and robust assessment process that has evolved with the aim of ensuring that the organisation gets the best to serve as a regular cadre. It gives all willing personnel enrolled in the scheme a fair chance to compete for the regular cadre, it had said.