A petition seeking to complete the recruitment process for the Indian Air Force as per the 2019 notification unaffected by the center’s Agnipath scheme was filed on Tuesday for a hearing in the Delhi High Court.
One of the lawyers said the bench of judges Suresh Kumar Kait and Saurabh Banerjee heard the petition, and included the petition two weeks after being informed that a similar case had been filed in the Supreme Court and was likely to be brought up next week.
In the Supreme Court, the petition filed by several Defense Forces aspirants sought to have the registration list published as per the December 11, 2019 notification, thus issuing letters of appointment.
The petitioners also requested an announcement that the 2019 notification would not be affected by the Agnipath Scheme 2022 and June 24, 2022 notification.
The petition, which was filed through attorney Prashant Bhushan, said that on December 11, 2019, a notification was issued by the IAF calling for applications for 01/2021 for the position of pilots in Group X (excluding the Education Instructor Trading) and Group deals. “Y” trades (excluding Auto Technician, Indian Air Force (Security), Indian Air Force (Police), Musical occupations).
Recruitment was to take place in three phases, which consisted of online test, physical fitness test, group discussion, adaptability tests and medical examination according to notification, job applicants applied and were also eligible in all three. stages, he said.
Next, the petition said, a provisional selection list containing the names of the petitioners was published on May 31, 2021, and also included the names of the candidates, their cut off marks, and their position on the merit list.
The list also stated that the registration list containing the names of the shortlisted candidates will be published on July 10, 2021, however, it has not been published, according to the appeal.
“Then, various successive statements were issued by Defendant No. 2 (Union of India through Central Pilots Selection Board) on its official website stating that there was delay in the announcement of the result due to COVID and administrative reasons.
The petition claimed that no official notification has been issued by the authorities yet and the official website where the petitioners were able to check their results for 01/2021 has been deleted by the defendants.
The petition stated that the new reform “aims to reduce the army’s spending on salaries and pensions” and according to Air Marshal Suraj Kumar Jha’s statement, “suspended enlistment has been cancelled.”
“A new scheme, the Agnipath scheme submitted by Defendant No. 1 (Confederation of India). Under this scheme, candidates will be selected to serve in the Indian Air Force for a term of four years, after which only 25 per cent of them will be retained, contrary to the notification dated 11 December 2019, where the initial engagement is for 20 years,” he said.
The petitioners argued that the decision to cancel the entire selection process which was only at an advanced stage so that the new Agnipath Scheme policy could be applied by restarting the selection was arbitrary and after applying for the job in accordance with the 2019 Recruitment Notice, they were entitled to a legitimate expectation of announcing their result Thus they are appointed if they are considered suitable.
“The cancellation of the recruitment process initiated via the 2019 Notice is wholly illegal, arbitrary and in violation of the petitioners’ rights guaranteed under Article 16(1) of the Constitution,” the statement said.
Agnipath’s plan, announced on June 14, provides for young men aged 17-and-a-half to 21-years-old to be enlisted for four years only with a requirement that 25 percent of them be retained for another 15 years. Protests erupted in several states against the scheme.
Later, the government extended the age limit to 23 years for conscription in 2022.
Several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court for direction to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate damages to public property, including public property, during the violent protests against the scheme.