Delhi High Court Reserves Order On Rakesh Asthana Appointment Row

HC reserved its verdict on Monday after hearing arguments in detail.

The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its order on pleas challenging Rakesh Asthana's appointment as the Commissioner of Delhi Police. The high court took one month to hear arguments in detail, over the time limit imposed by the Supreme Court which on August 25 had directed it to decide the matter within two weeks.

BOOM recaps the arguments on this issue.

Also Read: Rakesh Asthana Appointment Row: SC Tells Delhi HC To Decide Plea In 2 Wks

Asthana's appointment specifically violates Supreme Court judgement: Prashant Bhushan

The arguments in the high court were primarily overshadowed by accusations made by the advocate Prashant Bhushan who alleged that petitioner Sadre Alam had copy-pasted his plea on the same issue which is pending before the Supreme Court.

Advocate BS Bagga (for Alam) and Bhushan alleged that Asthana's appointment specifically violated at least three grounds from the Supreme Court's Prakash Singh verdict on police reforms.

Bhushan argued that Asthana did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months, he was appointed four days before his retirement; three-member UPSC panel which recommends candidates for the said post was not formed; criteria for a minimum tenure of two years was ignored (Asthana has been appointed for one year only); and that Asthana surpassed the super-time scale for inter-cadre deputation.

Bhushan argued that Asthana's recommendation as CBI Director was shot down for the very reasons that make him ineligible for the post of Delhi Police Commissioner.

Also Read: Rakesh Asthana Appointment in "Public Interest": Centre to Delhi HC

PIL is motivated, petitioners have hidden personal agenda: Centre

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the petitions challenging Asthana's appointment were motivated and that Bhushan (and Sadre Alam) had hidden personal agendas for doing so.

Filing plagiarized pleas is "an abuse of process of law" and a manifest outcome of a hidden personal vendetta, Mehta argued.

"Intervenor (Bhushan) and petitioner (Alam) are mere busybodies. Bhushan selectively files petitions for reasons that are not comprehensible. The role of such busybodies must come to an end," Mehta added. Filing PILs (Public Interest Litigations) has become an industry. It is a career by itself, which was not envisaged by the Constitution. Time and again, the Supreme Court has taken view that PILs are not maintainable in service matters. But some citizens of this country have a desire to run the government and they fulfil their unfulfilled desires by such PILs...," Mehta argued.

The Centre defended Asthana's appointment stating that the Prakash Singh verdict was not applicable to Delhi which has a special status and it is limited to DGPs and State Police Chief's only.

The Centre submitted that there were no candidates suitable enough to helm the state security apparatus of the national capital of the country. Thus, Asthana was appointed in the larger public interest.

Also Read: Crimes Against Women Fall By 8.3% In 2020, Show Latest NCRB Data

PIL is a "Proxy litigation"; personal agendas under the cloak of public interest: Rakesh Asthana

Representing Asthana, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that PILs couldn't be filed to challenge service appointments. Rohatgi alleged that Alam's plea was a "proxy litigation" since he claimed to be an advocate but there wasn't much on the record to show what his concern is.

"There's no correctness in this petition. It's a copy-paste. What's the public harm? He's an officer with 30 years of experience, has led the CBI. He has an unblemished career. Therefore, it's a motivate petition liable to be dismissed with costs," Rohatgi argued.

Also Read: Rakesh Asthana Appointment Row: Delhi HC Dismisses Plea

Organisations like Common Cause and the Center for Public Litigation (Bhushan is a part of both) are projecting their personal vendettas under the cloak of filing public interest litigations, Rohatgi argued.

Asthana submitted that Delhi is not a full-fledged State. It has a Commissionerate which is governed by the Delhi Police Act. Appointments are made in consultation with Lieutenant Governor (LG).

"Delhi has a peculiar situation apart from being the national capital. The competent authority did not find a more competent person is why an inter-cadre deputation was made," Rohatgi argued for Asthana.

Also Read: Cannot Publicly Say If Govt Used Pegasus Or Not: Centre To Supreme Court

Updated On: 2021-10-12T16:35:56+05:30
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