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Delhi High Court Asks Centre to Clarify on Extension of 25% Agniveers’ Tenure

The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the central government to clarify its stand on the 25% Agniveers who will be considered for the extension of their four-year tenure. This after the counsel appearing for a petitioner said, “The scheme says after 4 years they’ll keep 25% of the recruited and this 25% will be kept for another 4 years and the last 4 years of the officer will not be counted.”

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was hearing a batch of pleas that challenged the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the military.

The High Court on Monday started hearing the arguments in the batch of petitions challenging the scheme. The counsel appearing for one of the petitioners argued that the scheme has no provision for pension, whereas, they have a package of Rs 30,000 per month and at the end, it’ll be 40,000. Additionally, it was argued that the plea seeks reconsideration of the scheme.

Furthermore, it was argued that the basis of the scheme has been taken from places like the United States of America, Russia, Germany, and China, whereas, in none of these states it says that there is no pension.

The bench was informed that these Agniveers would be getting an LIC cover of Rs 48 lakh, which is less than what everyone else gets in the service. “After 4 years when they complete, they get nothing. They’ll be on the front line, and the medical coverage that they get is only for 4 years,” said the petition.

It was also submitted that earlier, the ministry of home affairs made an announcement that those who will not be absorbed can be considered for the Central Reserve Police Forces but nothing as yet has come out as to how it will be done.

Thereafter, the bench asked the counsel for the petitioner on what grounds they were asking the court to direct the central government to reconsider the scheme. In view of the above, the bench was informed that reconsideration has been sought on the grounds of tenure, uncertainty, absorption, etc.

Col Amit Kumar, a petitioner appearing in person, submitted that whenever the schemes are introduced, there is a requirement for the feedback of the officers. The Indian Army is being taught to fight whatever is brought to them. “Weapons require specialisation for 6 months, then they’ll have to prepare for all 4 climates, all terrains, which is difficult in this case because of the short tenure of only 4 years,” the petition said.

The counsel appearing for another petitioner submitted that another aspect is that officers fight for their people. “You move with the unit for 10s of years, you earn respect, and you fight for respect, how will the sense of belonging come in this case?” said the petition.

After noting the arguments, the bench allowed time for the central government to seek instructions on the extension of tenure of the 25% Agniveers and listed the matter for further hearing on December 14.

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