The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the Centre to file a reply to petitions challenging its Agnipath scheme and to seek enrolment as per earlier recruitment processes into the armed forces, reported Bar and Bench. The court, however, said that it will not stay or pass any interim order on the scheme.

The High Court granted the Centre four weeks time to file its reply and posted the matter for hearing on October 19, reported LiveLaw.

In July, the Supreme Court had transferred three petitions challenging the Agnipath scheme to the Delhi High Court while requesting it to expedite the matter.

The High Court is hearing a batch of pleas, including the three transferred petitions, challenging the Agnipath scheme. During Thursday’s hearing, the High Court directed the Centre to also file a detailed response in individual cases as well since the batch of pleas also pertain to issues concerning advertisement for recruitment for posts of soldier, airmen, sailor, reported Live Law.

Among the batch of pleas, a public interest litigation seeks to resume all recruitment processes of the years 2020 and 2021 cancelled due to introduction of Agnipath scheme, reported Live Law. While another plea filed by a group of 31 Air Force aspirants sought that the scheme should not be made applicable to those who are already undergoing the selection process in the armed forces.

The Centre introduced the Agnipath scheme on June 14 for recruitment of citizens in the armed forces between the age of 17-and-a-half and 21 for only four years, with a provision to retain 25% of them for 15 more years. The announcement had triggered protests across several states in the country as aspirants demanded permanent recruitment with pension benefits.

Following the protests, the Centre extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment under the scheme.