Delhi HC dismisses plea challenging Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police commissioner

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The Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre Indian Police Services (IPS) officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner.

The bench, led by Chief Justice DN Patel, dismissed the plea stating PILs can’t be allowed in service matters.

The petitioner had sought quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Mr Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner and also the order granting inter-cadre deputation and extension of service to him.

The plea had further contended that the appointment of Rakesh Asthana is in clear and blatant breach of the directions passed by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case as the officer does not have a minimum residual tenure of six months and no Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) panel was formed for his appointment as the Delhi Police Commissioner. It said the High-Powered Committee had rejected the Central government’s attempt to appoint Mr Asthana as the CBI Director on the basis of the six-month rule.

The centre had argued that the plea is an “abuse of process of law and manifestly an outcome of some personal vendetta” while submitting that a PIL in service matter is not maintainable.

Defending Rakesh Asthana’s appointment, the centre in an affidavit, said that it felt a “compelling need” to “appoint a person as the head of the police force of Delhi, who had diverse and vast experience of heading a large police force in a large State having diverse political as well as public order problem/experience of working and supervising Central Investigating Agency(s) as well as para-military forces”.

Taking a dim view of the petition, the centre said filing Public Interest Litigations (PILs) has become an industry and a career in itself as it defended Mr Asthana’s appointment.

Rakesh Asthana, in his affidavit, has told the court that there is a sustained social media campaign against him and the legal challenge to his appointment was an abuse of process of law, arising from vendetta

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