Plea in SC against Asthana’s appointment as Delhi top cop
In a first substantial challenge to the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police commissioner, a petition before the Supreme Court has claimed that the order to appoint him is illegal and smacks of malafide as it goes contrary to Supreme Court decisions, recruitment rules and provisions governing inter-cadre transfer.
On July 27, the Centre issued orders appointing the 1984 Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi’s top cop for a year, with just four days remaining for his retirement.
The petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation on Friday said that the July 27 orders issued by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) and the Centre appointing Asthana as Commissioner of Delhi Police need to be quashed and a fresh appointment process initiated for choosing an officer from AGMUT cadre for appointment as police commissioner. The AGMUT is a cadre for Arunachal Pradesh, Goa Mizoram and other Union Territories including Delhi.
The petition filed through activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan said, “The impugned orders dated July 27 are completely illegal and clearly smack of malafide and have presumably been issued only to promote the interests of the Respondent No.2 (Asthana) as well as of those in the Central government.”
Earlier, a contempt petition was filed in the top court by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma submitting that Asthana’s appointment went contrary to the top court’s March 13, 2019 judgment in the Prakash Singh case requiring any officer appointed as director general of police to have a residual tenure of six months for appointment. Asthana had four days to retire as on July 27.
In May, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana alluded to the judgment when candidates, including Asthana, were being considered for the post of director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.