A plea challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the new Delhi Police commissioner was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday. A bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh pronounced the order.
The PIL against Asthana had been filed by lawyer Sadre Alam who had sought the quashing of Asthana's appointment. On July 27, an order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointed Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner. In his plea, Alam also sought to quash the order granting inter-cadre deputation and extension of service to Asthana.
“The impugned orders (of MHA) are in clear and blatant breach of the directions passed by the Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh case as respondent no.2 (Asthana) did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months; no UPSC panel was formed for appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner, and the criteria of having a minimum tenure of two years has been ignored,” the plea had submitted.
The Centre, in its affidavit, has said that the appointment of Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner and the extension of his service tenure was done in public interest, keeping in mind the diverse law and order challenges faced by the national capital, which have national security implications as well as international and cross border implications.
Chronology of events in this case
- Jul 27, 2021: Ministry of Home Affairs, appoints Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner. Grants Asthana inter-cadre deputation and extension of service by one year.
- Aug 6: NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' moves SC challenging the appointment on various grounds.
- Aug 17: Lawyer Sadre Alam files PIL in Delhi HC challenging the appointment of Asthana.
- Aug18: Delhi HC bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel hears the plea, refuses to issue notice.
- Aug 25: SC hears NGO's plea, asks HC to decide the PIL pending before it preferably within two weeks.
- Sep 1: Delhi HC issues notice on PIL, seeks response from the Centre and Asthana.
- Sept 27: Delhi HC reserves verdict on Alam's PIL against the appointment.
- Oct 12: Delhi HC dismisses the PIL.
(With inputs from PTI)