New Delhi, September 1: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the Central government and Rakesh Asthana's stand on a public interest litigation challenging the appointment of the Gujarat-cadre IPS officer as Delhi Police Commissioner.
A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on a plea by one Sadre Alam and listed the matter for further hearing on September 8.
Appearing for NGO, 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' (CPIL), which has challenged the appointment before the Supreme Court, lawyer Prashant Bhushan stated that Alam's petition was malafide and a “complete copy paste” of the plea pending before the apex court.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, opposed the PIL and sought time to respond to it on merit.
The petition before the high court seemed to have been copied from the one before the Supreme Court, he added.
In his petition before the high court, Alam has sought quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner and also the order granting inter-cadre deputation and extension of service to him.
The plea, filed through advocate B.S. Bagga, also sought initiation of steps for appointing Delhi Police Commissioner strictly in accordance with the direction issued by the Supreme Court earlier.
The impugned orders (of MHA) are in clear and blatant breach of the directions passed by the Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh case as respondent no.2 (Asthana) did not have a minimum residual tenure of six months; no UPSC panel was formed for appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner; and the criteria of having a minimum tenure of two years has been ignored, the plea said.
It claimed the High-Powered Committee comprising the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition, in its meeting held on May 24, 2021, rejected the Central government's attempt to appoint Asthana as the CBI Director on the basis of the six-month rule as laid down by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case.
The appointment of Asthana to the post of Commissioner of Police, Delhi must be set aside on the same principle, it said.
The petition with similar prayers which has been filed by CPIL before the Supreme Court has urged to direct the central government to produce the July 27 order it issued, approving the inter-cadre deputation of Asthana from Gujarat cadre to AGMUT cadre.
The petition has also urged the apex court to set aside the Centre's order to extend Asthana's service period.
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.