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Pre-independence era system being followed: Rajnath Singh rebuts Opposition on caste certificates in Agnipath form

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday outrightly rejected the Opposition's allegations of caste certificates being asked from the Agnipath aspirants and said that the practice has been in existence "since pre-independence era" adding that no change has been made in the registration criteria.

"It's just a rumour. (The) earlier system, existing since the pre-independence era, is going on. No change has been made. (The) old system is being continued," Singh told reporters in Parliament complex as he rejected the allegations.

The Opposition criticised the government alleging that caste and religion certificates are being sought for the Agnipath recruitment scheme.

This comes after AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh criticised the central government for asking for caste and religious certificate in order to register for the Agnipath programme.

AAP leader tweeted in Hindi today and alleged that for the first time in the history of India, candidates have been asked to mention their caste in the Army recruitment, and hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him if he does not consider dalits, backwards and tribals eligible for serving Army.

"The cheap face of Modi government has come out in front of the country," he alleged in a tweet in Hindi.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred various pleas challenging the Agnipath Scheme to the Delhi High Court. A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud directed the Registrar General to transfer these matters to the Delhi High Court.

The Supreme Court also clarified that as other similar petitions challenging the Agnipath Scheme are pending in other various High Courts, the concerned High Courts should either give an option to the petitioners to either have their petitions transferred to the Delhi High Court or to keep their petitions pending with liberty to petitioners to intervene in the Delhi High Court.

The top court said it cannot pass the buck and deprive itself of the reasoning of the High Court. The Court also requested the Delhi High Court to take up the matter and dispose of it expeditiously.

The Union Cabinet on June 14 approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the three services of the Armed Forces called Agnipath and the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.

The Agnipath scheme allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the Armed Forces for a period of four years. The Agnipath Scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces. (ANI)

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