The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Central Government appointing Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner and dismissed a PIL challenging his appointment, filed by a Lawyer Sadre Alam.
The Central Government had defended his appointment by stating that it was done in the public interest and keeping in mind the diverse law and order challenges that have national security implications in the Capital. On the other side, Asthana had filed an affidavit and stated that he was a victim of a selective campaign, on account of vendetta against him.
The case was listed for pronouncement of judgment on Tuesday before the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh when the writ petition and the pending applications were dismissed.
The judgment is awaited.
The 1984-batch IPS officer, while serving as the Director General of the Border Security Force, was appointed the Commissioner on July 27, four days before his superannuation on July 31. The petitioner, lawyer Sadre Alam, sought quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner, while granting him inter-cadre deputation and extension of service by one year.
The petition claimed that the appointment of Asthana was in clear and blatant breach of the directions of the Supreme Court in the matter of Prakash Singh vs.Union of India, as the officer did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months and no UPSC panel was formed for his appointment.
The Centre, in its affidavit, had said that Asthana's appointment and the extension of his service tenure were 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.
Defending his appointment, the Centre had further said that it felt a compelling need to appoint a person as the head of the police force of Delhi, who had diverse and vast experience of heading a large police force in a large State having diverse political as well as public order problem and experience of working and supervising Central Investigating Agency(s) as well as para-military forces.
The Centre had argued that the PIL, as well as the intervention of NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which has challenged Asthana's appointment before the Supreme Court, deserves to be dismissed with exemplary costs.
CPIL claimed before the High Court that the PIL was mala fide and a complete copy-paste of its plea pending before the Apex Court.
Asthana, in his affidavit, told the Court that there was a sustained social media campaign against him and the legal challenge to his appointment was an abuse of process of law, arising from vendetta.
He said that ever since he was appointed Special Director, CBI, proceedings are being consistently filed against him by certain organisations as part of a selective campaign.
On August 25, the Supreme Court, while hearing the petition by CPIL, had asked the High Court to decide the matter, preferably within two weeks.
Asthana was appointed on the post on July 27, three days before his retirement on July 31. The appointment was made after clearance by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With PTI inputs