'So-Called Integrity Keepers': Govt on Plea Against Rakesh Asthana's Appointment

The division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said it will continue the hearing on 24 August.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Rakesh Asthana.<br></p></div>

Arguing that it had become a “business of so-called integrity keepers” to challenge appointments made by the Central government, the Centre on Wednesday, 18 August, objected to the filing of a public interest litigation (PIL) against the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi’s Commissioner of Police in the Delhi High Court.

The division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, said it will continue the hearing on 24 August.

Alam, who is a practising advocate, in the petition filed through advocate BS Bagga, argued that the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs was in violation of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh case.


Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma objected to the PIL and said, “What is the locus of the petitioner? This is essentially a PIL in a service matter which the Supreme Court says ‘No’. There are any number of judgements and Prakash Singh (SC judgement) is on DGs. Delhi Police is controlled and operated in a different mechanism altogether”, Indian Express reported.

The petition contends that the "impugned orders" are in "clear and blatant breach" of the directions passed by the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh case.

The petition makes the following arguments:

  1. Asthana did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months

  2. No UPSC panel was formed for appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner

  3. The criteria of having a minimum tenure of two years has been ignored

Who is Rakesh Asthana?

A 1984-batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, Rakesh Asthana, had been appointed as the Delhi Police commissioner by an order of the Union Home Ministry on 27 July.

The newly appointed Delhi Police commissioner had been serving as the Director General (DG) of the Border Security Force (BSF) since August last year. He had earlier served as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the chief of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

In 2018, Asthana, who was the deputy to CBI chief Alok Verma, was booked by the CBI for allegedly taking bribes from middlemen to give relief to a businessman being probed by him. However, he was later given a clean chit by the CBI in the bribery case.

Asthana headed the Special Task Force to look into the Godhra train burning case in 2002 and had also held crucial posts in the Gujarat government when Narendra Modi was chief minister.

Moreover, the appointment has also been criticised by former IPS officers such as Julio Ribeiro, Director-General of CRPF, DGP Gujarat, and DGP Punjab, among others, the petition pointed out.

(With inputs from The Indian Express)

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