THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday transferred to the Delhi High Court PILs challenging the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, and also requested the High Court to ensure their “expeditious disposal”.
“We request the Delhi High Court for expeditious disposal of the writ petitions after hearing the parties,” said the bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and A S Bopanna.
The bench rejected the request by petitioners to transfer the cases pending before several high courts directly to the Supreme Court. However, it said it would be appropriate to have a “considered view” of the Delhi High Court first.
“In this backdrop, we are of the view that the three writ petitions, which have been instituted before this court, should be transferred to the Delhi High Court and renumbered under Article 226 of the Constitution. Ordinarily, we would have disposed of these petitions by granting liberty to the petitioners to move the Delhi High Court afresh but we are desisting from following that course of action, to obviate any further delay in withdrawal of the petitions and filing of fresh petitions,” the bench said.
The Agnipath scheme has been challenged before the high courts of Kerala, Patna, Punjab and Haryana, and Uttarakhand.
The Supreme Court said a copy of the order be placed “on record of the proceedings in each of the high courts by the counsel appearing on behalf of the Union of India.”
The court also said that if any petitioners in other high courts do not want to argue before the Delhi High as a result of Tuesday’s order, they should be allowed to keep their cases pending till the Delhi High Court has heard the issue.
It also refused to entertain a plea by lawyer M L Sharma, who sought the cancellation of the government’s notification about the scheme as more than 70,000 aspirants who have undergone training were waiting for their appointment letters before the pandemic and now their career has been shortened by the scheme.