The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Home and the Defence Ministries on a PIL alleging that ‘defective’ INSAS rifles were being given to CRPF and other paramilitary forces.
A PIL filed by retired Lt Col Deepak Malhotra, who fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak and 1999 Kargil wars, has stated that the Defence Minister had informed Parliament in 2012 that indigenous INSAS rifles would be phased out by 2014, as they were “defective and outdated,” but nothing had been done so far.
The PIL alleged that the lack of new-generation rifles had “repeatedly resulted in death and injury to the brave jawans of the Indian Army and para-military services” while fighting “well-equipped” Maoists and terrorists.
The PIL has asked the court to look into records of the “long-pending decision” to replace the rifles, and has sought orders to phase out the INSAS rifles and replace them with modern firearms.
The court of Chief justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw directed the Defence Ministry to take its decision over the steps taken to replace the INSAS rifles within 10 weeks.
The court, while issuing notice to the Ministries also said that the government “introduced new fighter planes time and again.” “Why are you not thinking on this aspect? you should do something for these people,” said the court.
Senior advocate Meet Malhotra, appearing for the petitioner, argued that if the INSAS rifles were “good”, they should be “used for VIP security.” “…The bureaucratic system has delayed the replacement of these unreliable rifles even though replacements (like AK-47) were actually cheaper than INSAS,” says the petition.
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