Delhi HC to hear plea against Asthana appointment today

Petition a verbatim copy of plea in SC, says NGO

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday posted the hearing on a petition challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner and an intervention application filed in the matter by an NGO for Wednesday.

On August 25, the Supreme Court had asked the High Court to decide within two weeks the plea pending before it against the appointment of the senior IPS officer as Delhi Police Commissioner.

Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), which filed the impleadment application, argued that the petition before the High Court, filed by one one Sadre Alam, was a “copy-paste” of its plea before the Supreme Court.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for CPIL, said, “We have filed an intervention on behalf of CPIL. Something extraordinary has happened in the matter. The petition is a total copy-paste. Full stop, comma, exclamation mark. The court may list it tomorrow or whenever. See the kind of abuse of process of law that is done.”

The NGO stated that it got to know about the filing of Mr. Alam’s petition before the High Court from media reports and “was surprised to see some of the paragraphs of the instant writ petition as quoted by media, as the same appeared to be copy-pasted from the applicant’s writ petition filed before the Supreme Court prior in time.”

The NGO claimed that the precise purpose of filing the petition by Mr Alam “seems to be only to defeat public interest by scuttling the genuine, bona fide and well -researched and deliberated PIL filed by the applicant (NGO) before the Supreme Court.”

The petition filed by Mr. Alam has contended that the 1984-batch IPS officer, serving as the Director General of Border Security Force, was appointed Delhi Police Commissioner on July 27, just four days before his superannuation on July 31.

Mr Alam, in his plea, argued that the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) in appointing Mr Asthana for the post was “completely illegal on multiple grounds”.

The plea said the appointment was “in clear and blatant breach” of the directions of the Supreme Court of India as Mr Asthana “did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months”, and that no Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) panel was formed for appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner.

The petition, additionally, argued that the appointment violates the fundamental rule which stipulates “no government servant shall be granted extension in service beyond the age of retirement of sixty years”.

The appointment was also in violation of the policy regarding Inter-Cadre deputation of All India Service Officers as prescribed under Department of Personnel and Training’s (DOPT) Office Memorandum, of November 8, 2004.

Mr Alam’s petition also pointed out that the appointment of Mr Asthana “has been strongly criticised by former IPS officers of high standing such as Mr. Julio Ribeiro, who has served in the past as Commissioner of Police, Mumbai; Director General of CRPF, DGP Gujarat and DGP Punjab, among others”.

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