In 2022, the Delhi High Court was tasked with evaluating the legality and constitutionality of the Agnipath program, which outlines rules for the recruitment of young people into the armed services. The program requires applicants to be between 17 and a half and 21 years old and commit to four years of service, with 25% of them being promoted to permanent positions. However, some states protested the program, and the government subsequently raised the recruiting age to 23. The Supreme Court sent the scheme petitions to the Delhi High Court for review, and other high courts were directed to transfer their pending PILs against the Agnipath Plan to the Delhi High Court.
The Delhi High Court has affirmed the constitutionality of the “Agnipath” scheme launched by the Delhi government in 2018. The scheme aims to provide financial assistance and support to families of firefighters who die or are incapacitated while on duty.
The court stated that the scheme does not violate any provisions of the Indian Constitution and is in line with the government’s duty to protect the welfare of its citizens, including firefighters who risk their lives for the safety of others.
The court also noted that the scheme is in line with international conventions that India has ratified, such as the International Labour Organisation’s Convention on Employment Injury Benefits, which obligates countries to provide benefits to workers who are injured or die while on duty.
Under the Agnipath scheme, families of firefighters who die while on duty are eligible for a lump sum compensation of Rs 1 crore, while those who are incapacitated are eligible for a compensation of up to Rs 20 lakh. The scheme also provides for free education for the children of deceased or incapacitated firefighters.
The Delhi government had introduced the scheme as a tribute to firefighters who put their lives at risk to save others. The court’s decision affirms the government’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of its citizens, especially those who serve in hazardous and demanding professions such as firefighting.
The Delhi High Court confirmed the Central government’s Agnipath military recruiting scheme’s constitutionality. The highest court ruled the initiative is in the national interest and does not see any cause to interfere with it. The Delhi High Court division bench dismissed petitions that challenged the Agnipath system and demanded reinstatement and enrolling under the previous Indian military forces recruiting process.
The program is designed in the national interest and to guarantee that military forces are well equipped,” ANI cited the division bench led by Delhi High Court Chief Judge.
“The program is designed in the national interest and to guarantee that military forces are well equipped,” ANI cited the division bench led by Delhi High Court Chief Judge. Rules for the recruitment of young people into the armed services are outlined in the Agnipath program, which was presented to the public on June 14th, 2022. According to these guidelines, applicants must be between the ages of 17 and a half and 21, and those accepted into the program would serve a four-year commitment. As a result of the program, 25% of them will be promoted to permanent positions.
Some states protested the idea after its unveiling. In 2022, the government raised the recruiting age to 23. The Supreme Court sent the scheme petitions to the Delhi high court on July 19, 2022. The top court has also directed the high courts of Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, Patna, and Uttarakhand to transfer the PILs against the Agnipath Plan pending before them to the Delhi high court or leave it pending till a judgment is made if the petitioners so want.
Delhi High Court Annual Digest 2022.
Aishwarya Bhati, ASG for the Central government, said during the hearing that over 10 lakh candidates had received age relaxation under the programme. ASG Bhati said to Bhushan, “There is a distinction between the Navy and other defence forces. The Navy’s operational and battle preparedness would suffer if the procedure is delayed. They changed the recruiting plan.”
The Government notified the Delhi High Court that no previous recruitment applicants were prejudiced. The Institute also argued that military recruiting differs from public office recruitment since the former prioritises national security.
One petitioner’s attorney, Prashant Bhushan, termed the Centre’s judgement arbitrary and unjust. The senior counsel said that applicants on the select list had to wait two-and-a-half years.
In August 2022, a high court division bench rejected to block the Agnipath Program and gave them time to respond to several lawsuits challenging the government’s defence recruiting strategy. Instead of issuing an interim order, the court would hear the case.
The Ministry informed the Delhi high court in October 2022 that army recruiting is a sovereign duty for national security. The Centre stated the structural reforms in the army were needed due to the “sea shift” in global military combat, to create a youthful, contemporary and futuristic fighting force and to inject intellectually and physically fit young blood into the Army.
The Union government said that Agnipath is a “tailor-made system” that was developed after extensive talks by specialists to meet our nation’s demands and evolving warfare. ASG Aishwariya Bhati informed the court that the policy evolved from our British Army roots.