PIL in SC seeks to examine Agnipath scheme's impact on national security

by IANS |

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking for an expert committee under a former apex court judge to examine the Agnipath military recruitment scheme, and its impact on national security and the Army.

In the plea, petitioner Vishal Tiwari also sought setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to enquire about the violent protests that have emerged against the scheme and about the damage caused to public property including Railways.

The petitioner further sought a status report on the violent protests. "Since its launch, the country is facing severe and uncontrolled mass violence and protests against the scheme. The concern which rises through this scheme is primarily the length of service i.e. 4 years, which is not reasonable and there remain no pension benefits," the plea stated.

The defence aspirants during their protests have alleged that Agnipath scheme leads to a road of uncertainty for soldiers who will have to leave the services after 4 years. After the completion of the 4-year contract, 25 per cent of the total force will be retained and rest of the personnel will have to leave, which puts serious uncertainty to their future, it said.

It further said that along with no job security and protection, there will be no pension benefits including disability pension. The soldiers will get a lump sum of a little more than Rs 11 lakh when heir tenure ends.

As opined by various Military veterans, this scheme of contractual recruitment could compromise on training, morale and commitment in comparison to the permanent recruits.

"Such experimental radical change in the structure and pattern of the military can lead to severe strategic uncertainties which could compromise the national security. These issues have led to severe protests in various parts of the country," the plea contended.

"This situation requires the immediate judicial intervention," the PIL read.

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