Asthana's appointment: SC seeks HC decision in 2 weeks

Rakesh Asthana's appointment: Supreme Court asks Delhi High Court to decide on plea in 2 weeks

The top court said it would prefer to await final judgment on the subject by the High Court

Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi High Court to decide within two weeks a plea challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner, just four days before his retirement as chief of the Border Security Force (BSF).

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said since a plea has already been filed in the High Court, let it give its judgement on the subject.

The top court said it would prefer to await final judgment on the subject by the High Court while deciding to keep a PIL filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of NGO CPIL pending before it.

At the outset, the CJI said there were two issues, one was about his participation and formation of views on Asthana on the selection of CBI director and second, the High Court was seized of a petition about Asthana's appointment as Delhi police commissioner. The CJI had then objected to Asthana's name to the post of CBI head.

Advocate Bhushan, for his part, said the CJI could still hear the matter.

He said, "Every rule was thrown to the vents just to accommodate this person. It is an egregious case. I have never seen such a case where Government shows such a brazen violation of rule of law. He is given an extension in violation of each and every rule. Just four days before retirement, he was appointed police chief," he said.

With regard to the petition before the High Court, he said it was an ambush plea filed in collusion with the government to get a genuine petition dismissed.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asked what fundamental right of the petitioner has been taken away with the appointment. 

So far as the allegation of petitions in collusion was concerned, he submitted that the less said is better, as there are professional PIL litigants who filed such surrogate pleas at the behest of people who lost out in the race.

On Tuesday, the High Court had adjourned a hearing on a plea by Sadre Alam against July 27 order allowing inter-cadre deputation and extension of service of Asthana. The High Court had noted a similar plea has already been filed before the top court.

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