Updated: August 26, 2021 7:37:18 am
The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Delhi High Court to consider deciding a plea pending before it challenging the appointment of Rakesh Ashthana as the Delhi police commissioner within two weeks.
The direction came from a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, which took up for hearing a petition filed by the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), against the posting. The bench asked advocate Prashant Bhsuhan, who appeared for the petitioner, that it was appropriate that the High Court, where a similar plea is pending, decide it first so that “we will also have the benefit of that judgement”.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had pointed out to the bench that a similar petition is pending before the HC and that may be decided first.
PIL challenging appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Comm’r: Supreme Court says it should first be heard by Delhi HC where similar plea is pending. Gives 2 weeks. @IndianExpress
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Bhushan, however, said the CPIL petition was filed even before the one pending before the HC, and insisted that the SC hear the matter. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta however said the question is not which court Bhushan wanted to be heard by, but which fundamental right of his was violated to approach the SC with a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.
The CJI, after consulting other judges on the bench — Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant — responded that there are two issues. “One is about my participation in this as I had expressed my views about this gentleman in the CBI selection.”
Though Bhushan said he did not think that disabled him from hearing it, the CJI added: “Secondly, whether right or wrong, somebody has filed a petition in the High Court. We will fix a time limit… Then we will see.”
But Bhsuhan strongly pleaded that the SC take up the matter, saying that “today we are finding ambush petitions in High Court and here because there are petitions filed in collusion with the government to get dismissal”.
Acknowledging his concern, Justice Chandrachud said the court will therefore give him the liberty to file another substantive petition before the HC.
Bhushan, however, continued to stress that the SC should take up the matter. “This appointment is such an egregious violation of the rule of law that it affects the fundamental rights of each and every citizen. There are such egregious violations of this court’s order not just in Prakash Singh case (in which the court laid down rules regarding selection and tenure of DGPs), but also violation of three fundamental rules… Therefore, I say this court must hear it… I have never come across such a case where the government has shown such a brazen violation of rule of law. Four days before retirement, there is inter-cadre transfer from Gujaarat to Union Territory cadre, then given one year extension and just four days before retirement, he is given appointment (as police commissioner) in violation of Prakash Singh direction. Every rule is flouted to accommodate this gentleman,” added the counsel.
But the bench stood by its decision that the HC should decide it first.
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