Updated: August 31, 2021 1:04:09 pm
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that it will hear on Wednesday the public interest litigation challenging the appointment of IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi’s Commissioner of Police. The Supreme Court last week requested the high court to decide the case within two weeks.
The division bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said that the intervention application filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) in the case will also be heard Wednesday. The petition before Delhi HC has been filed by Sadre Alam and seeks the quashing of Asthana’s appointment, inter-cadre deputation and extension of service.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the CPIL, on Tuesday, submitted before the division bench that Alam’s petition was a “total copy-paste” of the case filed by it before the Supreme Court and called it an abuse of the process of law. Advocate B S Bagga, representing Alam, denied the allegations
“We filed a petition in the Supreme Court at an earlier point of time which is still pending. It has just been adjourned for two weeks by the Supreme Court. We will pursue that petition before the Supreme Court. We are not wishing to file another petition here or argue the petition (Alam’s), totally mala fide petition, complete copy-paste petition,” submitted Bhushan.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma remarked that it appears to be a case of “competitive PILs”. Bhushan said that he was “amazed” that the ASG appearing for the government was laughing.
The 1984 Gujarat-cadre officer and former DG BSF, Asthana on July 27 was deputed to AGMUT cadre and granted an extension of service for a 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 before Delhi HC, has argued that the Ministry of Home Affairs’ decision violated the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case and of the policy regarding inter-cadre deputation of All India Service Officers.
“The impugned orders are in clear and blatant breach of the directions passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh case (i) Respondent No.2 (Asthana) did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months; (ii) no UPSC panel was formed for appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner; and (iii) the criteria of having a minimum tenure of two years has been ignored,” the petition contends.
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 and 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 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 further.
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