Highlights:

  • The Delhi High Court ruled out a petition challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana
  • SC demanded the high court to decide within two weeks the plea pending before it against the appointment
  • Asthana noted to the court that there was a sustained social media campaign against him

The Delhi High Court ruled out a petition challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the city police commissioner on Tuesday. A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh uttered the operative part of the order. A detailed judgement is yet to be issued.

On August 25, the Supreme Court demanded the high court to decide within two weeks the plea pending before it against the appointment. The bench reserved its order on 27th September.

In the plea, lawyer Sadre Alam asked quashing of Union Home Ministry’s July 27 order appointing Asthana as well as that permitting inter-cadre deputation and extension of services to him. The plea challenged that a high-powered committee involving Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister, and the Leader of Opposition on May 24 denied the appointment of Asthana as CBI director on the grounds of procedural lapses. It remarked that the same rules should apply to the appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner.

NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation also registered an intervention application through advocate Prashant Bhushan, challenging the appointment. Earlier, the petition was lodged in the apex court, which demanded Bhushan to approach the high court. During the proceedings, Bhushan cited that Alam’s petition was a “copy-paste” of his plea.

The Centre justified Asthana’s appointment and informed the court that most of the appropriate level of officers of a cadre of officers for Union territories did not have the sufficient balance of experience and policing for an appointment as a top cop of the city. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, challenged that filing Public Interest Litigation has spawned into an industry of vested litigation.

Asthana, in his affidavit, noted to the court that there was a sustained social media campaign against him, and that the legal challenges to his appointment was an abuse of process of law arising from vendetta.

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