Attorney petitions SC for hearings on 'Agnipath scheme'; SIT for violence probe

Attorney petitions SC for hearings on 'Agnipath scheme'; SIT for violence probe

An attorney has approached the Supreme Court seeking a judicial committee to look into the impact of the Union Defence Ministry's "Agnipath" scheme on national security and the Army, as well as to set up a special investigation team to look into the widespread violence which has resulted in destruction of public property since the scheme was launched on June 14.

The public interest litigation filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari, referring to the widespread protests over the scheme that promises four-year service in the three branches of the armed forces, said, "Such experimental radical changes in the structure and pattern of the military may lead to severe strategic uncertainty that could undermine national security."

The appeal asked the Court to establish up an expert panel headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to investigate the scheme's impact on "national security and the Army of our nation" before it was implemented.

According to the petition, the main source of concern about the system is the short term of employment, i.e. four years with no pension benefits. "During their rallies, defense aspirants claimed that the Agnipath system leads to a road of uncertainty for troops who will be forced to leave the army after four years," the plea added. After the four-year contract is completed, 25% of the overall force will be retained, while the remaining will be recruited.

The petition requested the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the protests, assess the damage to public property, and appoint a Claim Commissioner in accordance with a Supreme Court order from 2009 to recover damage to public property.

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