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Supreme Court Dismisses Request Against Rakesh Asthana’s Appointment As Delhi Police Chief

qsdqi3ho rakesh asthana bsf director

The plea challened appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Monday disposed of the plea challenging appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi’s CP observing his term has ended but kept open the issue related to the appointment of DGP.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and also comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala listed the matter for April 3 to examine whether the issue related to the Prakash Singh judgement will have relevance in the Asthana matter or not.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that if the Prakash Singh judgement related to the appointment of a senior police official is not dealt with, it will keep coming up again and again.

The court was hearing the plea challenging the appointment of Indian Police Service Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner. The NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation’ (CPIL) through its advocate Prashant Bhushan had approached the top court in an appeal against the October 12, 2021 order of the Delhi High Court which had upheld the Centre’s decision to appoint Asthana, Gujarat cadre 1984-batch IPS officer, as Delhi Police Commissioner four days before his superannuation on July 31, saying there was “no irregularity, illegality or infirmity” in his selection.

Delhi High Court had held that the Prakash Singh case will have no relevance in the Asthana case.

In the affidavit filed by the Centre, it has maintained that Asthana was picked “to provide effective policing on the recent law and order situation which arose in the National Capital Territory of Delhi”.

The Central government has informed the Supreme Court that there was a “compelling need” to appoint Indian Police Service Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner taking into consideration the national capital’s “extremely challenging situations” of public order, policing issues, and their implications on national security.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) while justifying the appointment of Asthana as the Delhi Police commissioner, has informed the top court through an affidavit that Asthana was appointed police chief of Delhi as a “special case of public interest”.

The affidavit was filed on a plea of NGO CPIL against the Delhi High Court order upholding Asthana’s appointment as police chief.

Asthana had also filed a separate affidavit in the plea saying petitions were filed in the top court following a scathing social media campaign to malign his reputation and that petitioner NGO and Prashant Bhushan harboured a personal vendetta against him.

The Delhi High Court while dismissing a PIL challenging Asthana’s selection had said the justification and reasons given by the Centre for appointing Asthana are plausible, calling for no interference in judicial review.

Asthana, who was serving as the Director-General of the Border Security Force, was appointed the Commissioner on July 27, 2021, after being shifted to the Union Territory cadre from the Gujarat cadre for the tenure of one year.

The NGO’s petition has urged the top court to set aside the Centre’s order to appoint Asthana after extending his service period.

It had termed the extension of Asthana’s tenure as well as an appointment as “illegal” as he did not have a residual tenure of mandatory six months of service at the time of his appointment as Commissioner of Police since he was to retire within 4 days.

The petition had further claimed that the Centre’s order violated the policy regarding the Inter-Cadre deputation of All India Service Officers.

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