SC to hear petition challenging Rakesh Asthana's appointment as Delhi Police commissioner on Aug 5
The appointment of senior IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police commissioner might come under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court as the court, on Monday, agreed to hear a contempt petition filed by a lawyer challenging Asthana’s elevation as the police chief, news agency ANI reported. The apex court will take up the petition on August 5.
The contempt petition challenging Asthana’s appointment was filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma on July 30. Sharma, a 'serial litigator' who regularly files public interest litigations (PILs), argued in his petition that the decision is in violation of a July 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court which said 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.
Asthana’s appointment as Capital’s top cop was announced on July 27, just four days before he was scheduled to retire from service. The 1984-batch Gujarat cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was serving as the Director General (DG) of the Border Security Force (BSF) when he was moved to the national capital as the head of its law enforcement agency. He assumed charge on July 28.
Meanwhile, Sharma, in his plea, had also urged the court to declare the notification announcing the officer’s appointment as “illegal.” He had further argued that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah are both party to this contempt of court. “Respondent number 1 (PM Modi) is the head of the ACC and respondent number 2 (Shah) is the Minister of home affairs, who jointly made the appointment against the judgment of the Supreme Court,” the contempt plea had stated.
The announcement of Asthana’s appointment was made by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC). The Delhi Police reports to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA).
Incidentally, also on August 5, the Supreme Court will take up three petitions demanding a court-monitored probe into the alleged Pegasus snooping scandal. The first petitioner in this case was none other than ML Sharma.