Decide on plea challenging Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police chief in two weeks: SC to HC

"We request the Delhi High Court to consider the matter as early as possible in 2 weeks for us to have the benefit of high court's judgement. Petitioner is at liberty to file intervention application", the bench stated in its order.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stated that the petition challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner should be first heard in the high court, where a similar plea has been filed. It asked the Delhi High Court to decide the matter in two weeks.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant was hearing a petition filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and allowed it to intervene in the high court plea.

“We request the Delhi High Court to consider the matter as early as possible in 2 weeks for us to have the benefit of high court’s judgement. Petitioner is at liberty to file intervention application”, the bench stated in its order, according to Live Law.

On Tuesday, the high court while hearing the plea filed by Sadre Alam, challenging Asthana’s appointment, was informed that a similar petition has been filed in the Supreme Court. The court had asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing CPIL, to give a copy of the petition to the Centre’s counsel and listed Alam’s petition filed before it for hearing on September 24.

Advocate Bhushan, on Wednesday, called the plea before the high court an “ambush petition”, which is “filed in collusion with the government to get a dismissal to prevent genuine petitioners from coming forward.”

Following this, Justice Chandrachud gave CPIL the liberty to intervene in the high court.

Asthana, a 1984 Gujarat-cadre officer and former BSF DG, was on July 27 was deputed to AGMUT cadre and granted an extension of service for a period of one year beyond his date of retirement, which was July 31. He was also appointed Delhi CP from July 27 till July 31, 2022.

Advocate Bhushan noted, “I’ve never seen such case where government shows such brazen violation of rule of law. He is given extension in violation of each and every rule! Four days before retirement he is appointed a police chief!”

— With inputs from Live Law

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