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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Abuse of process of law: Centre on petition against Asthana appointment

🔴 The Centre submitted that the “petitioner is a busybody” and “keeps on selectively filing petitions, and such selection of selected public interest are for reasons which are beyond comprehension”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
January 5, 2022 8:27:11 pm
Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

Stating that IPS officer Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police Commissioner was made in ‘public interest’, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that the petition challenging the appointment filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, “is an abuse of process of law and manifestly an outcome of some personal vendetta against the incumbent police commissioner entertained by the petitioner”.

In an affidavit filed in the top court, the Centre said this becomes clear from the fact that the CPIL petition is based on the SC’s 2006 judgment in the Prakash Singh case laying down the guidelines for selection of DGP’s, and that “eight IPS officers have been appointed by the Central Government as Police Commissioner Delhi following the very same procedure which has been followed while making the appointment in the present case”.

“However, the petitioner (who) claims to be espousing a public cause, never considered challenging the appointment of eight erstwhile Police Commissioners though they were appointed in the same manner as is done in the case of” Asthana, it said, adding that “such a selective exhibition of ‘public interest’ speaks volume about the motive behind filing” the petition.

The Centre submitted that the “petitioner is a busybody” and “keeps on selectively filing petitions, and such selection of selected public interest are for reasons which are beyond comprehension”.

“Assuming that any intermeddler can bring issues to the notice of the Hon’ble Court, the role of such busybody must come to an end and they cannot convert the petition into a bi-parte dispute”, it said.

The affidavit said that “a bare perusal of the reasons provided in the original file manifest that both inter-cadre deputations as well as extension of service of” Asthana “was granted by the Central Government in public interest”.

“The prime consideration for the same was that GNCT being the capital of the country has been witnessing diverse and extremely challenging situations of public order/law and order situation/policing issues, which not only had national security implications but also international/cross-border implications. As such, a compelling need was felt by the Central Government to appoint a person as a 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 paramilitary forces. To achieve the above purpose, a search was done in AGMUT cadre, which is the IPS cadre for GNCT. However, since AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, Union Territory) cadre being a cadre comprising of Union Territory and small Northeastern states, it was felt that requisite experience of working and supervising the central investigating agency/paramilitary force and police force of a large State having diverse political and law and order problem was lacking in the present pool of available officers. Hence, in the public interest, a decision was made by the Central Government to have an officer who had experience in all the above fields to supervise Delhi Police force and to provide effective policing on the recent law and order situation which arose in the National Capital Territory of Delhi,” it said.

In a separate affidavit, Asthana also said the NGO is “carrying out personal vengeance against” him and “maligning” his “image… ever since his appointment in the Central Bureau of Investigation…”.

It pointed out that the Delhi High Court had on October 12, 2021, dismissed a similar petition filed by one Sadre Alam and an intervention application filed by CPIL.

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