Updated: September 9, 2021 7:40:06 am
The Delhi High Court Wednesday adjourned the hearing of a public interest litigation challenging IPS officer Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi’s Commissioner of Police after the Centre sought time to file a reply in the case.
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, before the division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, submitted that a draft of the affidavit has been prepared and they would need a few more days to finalise and file it.
Listing the case for hearing on September 16, the court also issued a fresh notice to Asthana after it noted that the same has not been served to him on account of non-payment of process fee by the petitioner.
The petition before the HC has been filed by Sadre Alam and seeks quashing of Asthana’s appointment, inter-cadre deputation and extension of service. The court has also allowed an intervention application of Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in the case.
Asthana, a 1984 Gujarat-cadre officer and former DG BSF, was deputed to AGMUT cadre on July 27, and granted an extension of service for a period of one year beyond his date of retirement, which was July 31. He was also appointed Delhi CP on July 27 up to July 31, 2022.
Alam, a practising advocate, in the petition filed through advocate B S Bagga, argued that the Ministry of Home Affairs’ decision was in violation of directions issued by the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh case and of the policy regarding inter-cadre deputation of All India Service Officers.
Submitting that the post of Delhi CP is akin to the post of DGP of a state, Alam has argued that Asthana was not empanelled by the UPSC as directed in the Prakash Singh case. Also, he did not have a residual tenure of six months of service at the time of his appointment since he was to retire within four days. He has also argued that Prakash Singh directions provide for a minimum of two years tenure but Asthana has been appointed for a period of one year only.
“That the high-powered committee comprising the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition, in its meeting held on 24.05.2021, rejected the central government’s attempt to appoint the same IPS officer as the CBI Director on the basis of the ‘six-month rule’ as laid down in Prakash Singh. The appointment of Respondent No. 2 to the post of Commissioner of Police, Delhi must be set aside on the same principle,” the petition argues.
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