A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the Centre's Agnipath scheme, alleging that the government has quashed the century-old selection process for the Armed forces which is contrary to the constitutional provisions and without having Parliamentary approval.
"Contrary to the constitutional provisions and without having approval in Parliament and without any Gazette notification, the respondent (Centre) quashed century-old army selection process and imposed impugned Agniveer-22 scheme in the country... and declared to start it from June 24," advocate Manohar Lal Sharma said in his plea.
He also termed the scheme "illegal" and "unconstitutional" and sought a direction from the Court to quash the June 14 press note issued by the ministry of defence.
Meanwhile, Narendra Modi is likely to meet the three service chiefs on Tuesday and discuss the Agnipath scheme, reports have said. The meeting comes amid protests on the new military scheme, which according to the government, aims to bring down the average age in the armed forces.
Earlier, over the weekend, defence minister Rajnath Singh held discussions for two straight days as the stir continued to rage.
On Sunday, a key press briefing was held by the service chiefs. "Every individual who wants to join the armed forces through the Agnipath scheme will have to submit a pledge that they were neither part of any protest nor were involved in any violence. Nobody can join the forces without police verification... We have made the provisions," said Lt General Anil Puri, the additional secretary of the department of military affairs.
"The foundation of the Indian armed forces is discipline. There is no space for arson. There is no problem if you show your anger and engage in talks. But there is no space for arson and vandalism. This scheme has been designed for youth. By going to the streets, they are only wasting their time. They should spend this time to get themselves ready physically. I appeal to them to start preparing," he added in a warning to the demonstrators.
The scheme allows youth - in the 17-21 age group - who are "patriotic and motivated" to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. As a one-time waiver, the upper age limit has been raised to 23. The scheme has been designed "to enable a youthful profile of the armed forces," says the government.
The Agniveers - the recruits of the scheme - will retire after four years. However, the union home ministry, the defence ministry and several other states have announced that they would be given jobs.
The opposition has been attacking the government, saying that after holding recruitments on hold in defence jobs during two years of the pandemic, the new scheme won't be able to do the needful.
Meanwhile, across India, over 1,000 arrests have been made as demonstrations were held. Most of these arrests were made in Bihar.