Centre defends top cop’s appointment

  • A bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh posted the plea by one Sadre Alam, challenging Asthana’s appointment and subsequent extension of term by one year, for further hearing on August 24. “Is any such matter pending before any other court? Just take instructions,” the bench said.
Newly appointed Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.
Newly appointed Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana.
Updated on Aug 19, 2021 03:43 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

he Centre on Wednesday opposed a plea challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police commissioner even as the Delhi high court refused to issue notice and asked if similar pleas are pending before any other court.

A bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh posted the plea by one Sadre Alam, challenging Asthana’s appointment and subsequent extension of term by one year, for further hearing on August 24. “Is any such matter pending before any other court? Just take instructions,” the bench said.

When the counsel for the petitioner, advocate BS Bagga, urged the court to issue notice, it responded, “No, no. We are still going to read everything. We will see.”

Additional solicitor general (ASG) Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Centre, told the court that no such challenge was pending in any court according to his knowledge. He said the government would seek instructions, following which the court adjourned the matter.

Sharma also questioned the locus standi of the petitioner and the maintainability of the petition, claiming that service matters cannot be challenged in a public interest litigation.

“It has become a business for so-called integrity-keepers to challenge any appointment made by the authorities,” Sharma argued.

Advocate Bagga contended that the July 27 order appointing Asthana was in violation of the existing service law. He said Asthana was appointed to the post just four days before retirement when the service conditions mandate a minimum residual tenure of six months.

The plea seeks initiation of steps for appointing a Delhi Police commissioner strictly in accordance with the directions issued by the Supreme Court earlier.

Similar petitions have also been filed before the Supreme Court, including one by an NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, urging directions to the central government to produce its July 27 order that approved the inter-cadre deputation of Asthana from Gujarat cadre to AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre.

A contempt plea has also been filed in the apex court by advocate M L Sharma against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah for appointing Asthana as Delhi Police commissioner in an alleged violation of the judgment in the Prakash Singh case.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022