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Delhi HC Junks Plea Challenging Appointment Of Rakesh Asthana As Police Commissioner

The Delhi HC junked the petitions challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Commissioner of Police of the national capital.

Image credits: PTI


The Delhi High Court on Tuesday junked the petitions challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Commissioner of Police of the national capital. A division bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh passed the orders after it had reserved the orders on the petition filed by Sadre Alam on September 27.  The High Court had reprimanded petitioner Sadre Alam, who challenged the appointment of Rakesh Asthana on the post of Delhi Police Commissioner, saying that he has "copied without understanding"

"Bring your own independent submissions...you can't copy 90-95% of someone else's petition," said a division bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.

The remarks towards Advocate B S Bagga, the counsel for petitioner Sadre Alam came in after he failed to answer the court's query regarding the meaning of word 'Super Time Scale'. Defending Asthana's appointment, the Central government had underlined that the national capital had been facing 'diverse and extremely challenging situations of public order/law' and therefore, there was a need to appoint an 'experienced person' as Rakesh Asthana as the head of the police force.

Rakesh Asthana was appointed as the Commissioner of Police of Delhi on July 27, just three days before he was to retire. Thereafter, a plea was filed in the Delhi High Court, challenging the appointment, and the one-year extension in service that was granted to Rakesh Asthana to serve the office. The petitioner, as per reports, in the plea seeking action in the matter, claimed that the criteria for the appointment laid down by the Supreme Court have been ignored. Opposing the plea challenging Rakesh Asthana's appointment, the Centre underlined:

"A compelling need was felt by the Central Government 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, as well as experience of working and supervising Central Investigating Agency(s) as well as para-military forces."

The PM Modi-led government stated that for the same, a search was conducted in the AGMUT cadre, which is the IPS cadre for GNCT. Pointing out that the cadre only comprises of the Union Territory and small north-eastern states, the Central government added that the requirements for the post were lacking the present pool, and "hence in the public interest, a decision was made by the Central Government to have an officer (Rakesh Asthana) who had experience in all the above fields to supervise Delhi Police force and to provide effective policing on the recent law and order situation which arose in the National Capital Territory of Delhi."

Before being appointed as the Delhi CP,  A 1984-batch IPS- Rakesh Asthana was also in the race to become the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). However, during a meeting for the same, Chief Justice NV Ramana- part of the three-member panel to pick the CBI chief, ruled out his appointment stating citing a Supreme Court decision that 'officers with less than six months left in service should not be considered for police chief posts'. Asthana's previous posting was as the DG of the BSF and the NCB. Before that, he had been a Special Director in the CBI, effectively the agency's no:2 official, before he and the then-director Alok Verma levelled allegations against each other following which, they were both removed.

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