CPIL Moves SC Challenging Rakesh Asthana's Appointment As Delhi Police Chief
Centre for Public Interest Litigation's plea was furthered in the Supreme Court by advocate Prashant Bhushan.
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) on Friday, 6 August, filed a petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the recent appointment of IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner.
The CPIL plea, which seeks the revocation of the order directing the instatement of Asthana to the post, was submitted in the court through public interest lawyer Prashant Bhushan, Live Law reported.
Rakesh Asthana was appointed as commissioner on 27 July, just four days before his previously scheduled date of retirement, 31 July 2021.
The petition filed by the CPIL in the court asserts that the order of appointment is in 'clear and blatant breach' of the directions issued by the apex court in a July 2018 case – Prakash Singh and others versus Union of India – which had stated that officers who have at least two years of service left should be considered for such positions, Live Law reported.
The plea further observes that Asthana did not have a stipulated minimal residual tenure of 6 months and that no UPSC panel was instated for his appointment.
Another plea challenging Asthana's appointment on similar grounds was heard by the Supreme Court on Thursday. The petition was filed by lawyer ML Sharma, and has Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Ministry of Home Affairs as respondents.
"In the present case impugn appointment is not only willful denial of the judgment of the supreme court but also has been done knowingly and deliberately to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice. Therefore this Hon’ble court shall take contempt of court (crl) against the respondents (sic)," the petition had stated.
Who is Rakesh Asthana?
Rakesh Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer of the Gujarat cadre, had been appointed the Delhi Police commissioner, the Union Home Ministry said in an order 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, the CBI had later given a clean chit to Asthana in the bribery case.
Asthana has also held crucial posts in the Gujarat government when Narendra Modi was chief minister. He had headed the Special Task Force to look into the Godhra train burning case in 2002.
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