A petition has been moved before the Delhi High Court by various candidates shortlisted as Airmen in Indian Air Force seeking issuance of enrolment list and completion of previous recruitment as per a 2019 notification, without being affected by Centre's new Agnipath recruitment scheme for armed forces.
A division bench comprising of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Saurabh Banarjee on Tuesday deferred the petition for two weeks in view of the pendency of a similar matter before the Supreme Court, which is coming up for hearing next week.
Filed through Advocate Prashant Bhushan, the plea has been moved by 20 candidates awaiting their enrollment as Airmen in Indian Air Force in Group "X" trades (except education instructor trade) and Group "Y" trades (except automobile technician, Indian Air Force (Security), Indian Air Force (Police), musician trades).
The plea seeks a direction on the Centre to publish the enrollment list in terms of the 2019 notification and consequently issue appointment letters to the petitioners. It also seeks a direction that the 2019 notification shall remain unaffected by the Agnipath Scheme.
The plea argues that as per the recruitment scheme, the enrollment list containing names of selected candidates should be published on July 10, 2021, however, the same was not published yet.
Accordingly, the plea averred that various statements were issued the Central Airmen Selection Board on their official website stating that there was a delay in declaration of result on account of COVID and administrative reasons.
Thereafter, the Centre introduced the new Agnipath Scheme in June this year and vide notification dated June 24, 2022, Air Force had invited applications for various posts. The plea claims that the said notification also consists of the posts covered under the 2019 recruitment notification.
"It is submitted that the decision to annul the entire selection process which has reached the final stage only so that the new Agnipath Scheme policy can be applied by restarting the selection is an arbitrary decision," the plea argues.
The plea avers that the act of conducting and completing the whole new selection process and cancelling the previous recruitment for the same post is discriminatory and arbitrary and thus, is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
"There is no gainsaying that the Petitioners who have applied for the post have a legitimate expectation that their result would be declared and consequently be appointed if they are considered fit for the posts," the plea adds.
The plea also argues that the cancellation of the recruitment process initiated by way of the 2019 notification is wholly illegal, arbitrary as well as violative of the rights of the petitioners guaranteed under Article 16(1) of the Constitution of India.
Case Title: ANUBHAV MISHRA & ORS. v. UNION OF INDIA & ANR.