The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation challenging the appointment of Indian Police Services Officer Rakesh Asthana as the Capital’s police commissioner, Live Law reported.
The petition had been filed by a lawyer named Sadre Alam. The High Court bench, led by Chief Justice DN Patel, said PILs cannot be permitted in matters related to service, NDTV reported. A copy of the court’s order is awaited.
Asthana had been appointed as the Delhi Police chief just four days before he was set to retire as the director general of the Border Security Force on July 31.
The petitioner had argued before the High Court that the Centre’s decision to appoint Asthana to the top post violated a Supreme Court order
“The judgment [Prakash Singh v. Union of India] is saying minimum residual tenure of six month [after superannuation] should be there,” Alam’s lawyer BS Bagga said. “Here, four days before the retirement, the appointment is made. This is bad in law.”
Asthana did not have a minimum tenure of six months left in his service as well as no Union Public Service Commission committee was formed for appointing him, according to the conditions laid down for appointment in the verdict. Asthana was also not appointed for a minimum of two years of service.
During the last hearing in the case on September 27, the Centre, while defending its decision, said that filing public interest litigations has become a “career and industry” in itself.
In September, the Centre told the Delhi High Court that Asthana’s appointment as the police commissioner of Delhi was in “public interest”.
In an affidavit, the government added that Delhi had been witnessing law and order as well as policing problems that have national security and cross border implications.
Asthana had also served as the special director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, where his name cropped up in a major controversy related to a bribery case in 2018. However, he was cleared of all charges in February 2020.