The Delhi High Court dismissed a petition which challenged the appointment of IPS Officer Rakesh Asthana as the Commissioner of Delhi Police.
The petition filed by Sadre Alam was dismissed by a division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. The NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' had intervened in the petition through Advocate Prashant Bhushan challenging Asthana's appointment.
CPIL had moved the SC, wherein the SC had told them to move to the Delhi HC where the petition of Sadre Alam was already pending. The Delhi HC was requested to decide the matter within 2 weeks on August 25. Copy of the judgement is awaited.
Rakesh Asthana is a 1984-batch Gujarat cadre IPS officer who took charge as Delhi Police Commissioner in July 2021. Four days before this retirement, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued the order of his appointment as Delhi Police Commissioner thereby extending his service initially for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation on 31.07.2021.
His appointment was challenged on many counts including invoking the case of Prakash Singh & Ors where it was held by the SC that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) should, as far as possible, consider only those officers for such appointments who have two years of service left.
It was also argued that: Asthana did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months; no UPSC panel was formed for the appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner; The criteria of having a minimum tenure of two years had been ignored; and he has surpassed the super-time scale for inter-cadre deputation.
But the centre argued that this appointment was done in public interest, owing to the fact that Delhi had been witnessing a lot of law-and-order situations. Asthana’s vast experience was considered before appointing him for the post. Responding to the contention that this appointment will have demoralizing effect on AGMUT Cadre, the Centre responded that Asthana was appointed as the Delhi Police Chief after "thorough examination".
Advocate BS Bagga represented the Petitioner, Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for CPIL, SG Tushar Mehta argued for Centre and Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi defended Rakesh Asthana.