A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team into the violent protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, PTI reported on Saturday.
The plea, filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, has also sought that an expert committee led by a retired Supreme Court judge be constituted to examine the impact of the scheme on the armed forces and India’s national security, according to Live Law.
The Agnipath scheme was announced by the government on Tuesday. Under this scheme, citizens aged between 17 and a half and 21 years will be eligible to apply for a four-year service in the military. Of these recruits, 25% will be eligible to apply as regular personnel after they complete their four-year service.
Aspirants for posts in the armed forces have been protesting against the scheme since Wednesday. They are demanding permanent recruitment under the regular process and pension and other retirement benefits that are not part of the Agnipath scheme.
In many places, the protests have turned violent. On Friday, one person died and several others were injured in Telangana’s Secunderabad after the police opened fire at protestors who resorted to arson at the city’s railway station. Several trains and buses were burnt in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
In his plea, Tiwari said that such short-term contractual recruitment is demotivating Army aspirants.
“After the completion of the four years contract, 25% of the total force will be retained and the rest of the personnel will have to leave which puts a serious uncertainty on their future,” the plea said. “As opined by various experienced military veterans, this scheme of contractual fixed recruitment could compromise on training, morale and commitment in comparison to the permanent recruits.”
It added that such “experimental radical change” in the structure of the military can lead to “severe strategic uncertainties” that could compromise the national security of the country.
Earlier on Saturday, the Centre said it will give a 10% reservation for Agnipath recruits in the jobs offered by the home and defence ministries.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 defence Public Sector Undertakings. On the other hand, the home ministry said it will reserve posts for Agnipath recruits in the Central Armed Police Forces and the Assam Rifles paramilitary force.
The home ministry also announced a three-year age relaxation for Agniveers who want to join the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles after completing their service. Currently, the maximum age limit for recruitment in the two forces is 25.