A division bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kant will hear the case.
On July 28, Asthana was appointed as the Delhi Police Commissioner. The former Central Bureau of Investigation special director was set to retire on July 31. A Union home ministry order said he had been given a year’s extension “in public interest”.
The petition in the Supreme Court has been filed by lawyer ML Sharma, who has sought contempt action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Sharma has alleged that Asthana’s appointment violates a 2018 Supreme Court order, which said that the Union Public Service Commission should consider those officers for such positions who have two years of service left.
The petitioner has also contended that as the prime minister is the head of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, he had made the appointment jointly with the home minister. Therefore, Sharma claimed that they are both liable for contempt action, Live Law reported.
Sharma has said that the appointment approved by the prime minister and home minister “have created a serious question of constitutional system...and it is liable to be resolved by the court constitution bench whether these two individuals have any legal or moral right to continue in the constitutional office for the rest of their life”.
The appointment of Asthana as the Delhi Police chief has drawn criticism from the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress. On July 29, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the appointment.
AAP MLA Sanjeev Jha, who moved the resolution, said that Asthana was the front-runner for the position of CBI chief in May 2019, but his name was dropped as he was due to retire.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ramveer Singh Bidhuri, the leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, defended Asthana’s appointment by highlighting his service record.