Delhi HC issues notice on petition challenging appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice on a petition challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner.

A Bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh also allowed an application filed by NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), seeking to be made a party in the case. The High Court has posted the case for further hearing on September 8.

On August 25, the Supreme Court had asked the High Court to decide within two weeks the plea pending before it against the appointment of senior IPS officer as Delhi Police Commissioner.

Who is Rakesh Asthana?

The CPIL in its impleadment application argued that the petition before the High Court filed by one Sadre Alam was a “copy-paste” of its plea before the Supreme Court.

The NGO stated that it got to know about the filing of Mr. Alam’s petition before the High Court from media stories and “was surprised to see some of the paragraphs of the instant writ petition as quoted by media, as the same appeared to be copy-pasted from the applicant’s writ petition filed before the Supreme Court prior in time”.

The NGO claimed that the precise purpose of filing the petition by Mr. Alam “seems to be only to defeat public interest by scuttling the genuine, bona fide and well-researched and deliberated PIL petition filed by the applicant [NGO] before the Supreme Court”.

The petition filed by Mr. Alam has contended that the 1984-batch IPS officer, serving as the Director General of the Border Security Force, was appointed as Delhi Police Commissioner on July 27, just four days before his superannuation on July 31.

Mr. Alam, in his plea, argued that the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) in appointing Mr. Asthana for the post was “completely illegal on multiple grounds”.

The plea said the appointment was “in clear and blatant breach” of the directions of the Supreme Court as Mr. Asthana “did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months”, and that no Union Public Service Commission panel was formed for the appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner.

The petition, additionally, argued that the appointment violated the fundamental rule which stipulated that “no government servant shall be granted extension in service beyond the age of retirement of 60 years”.

The appointment was also in violation of the policy regarding Inter-Cadre deputation of All India Service Officers as prescribed under Department of Personnel and Training’s Office Memorandum, of November 08, 2004.

Mr. Alam’s petition also pointed out that the appointment of Mr. Asthana “has been strongly criticised by former IPS officers of high standing such as Mr. Julio Ribeiro, who has served in the past as Commissioner of Police, Mumbai; Director General of CRPF, DGP Gujarat and DGP Punjab, among others”

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