The Delhi high court on the 27th of September reserved their judgment on a petition that challenged the appointment of RakeshAsthana as the Commissioner of Delhi Police.

The petitioner’s council contented that the appointment of Mr. Asthana as the commissioner of Delhi police on two points. First, there was a breach of Rule 56(A) of the fundamental rules issued by the Department of Personnel and Training. This rule states that no officer can be granted the extension of service beyond the age of 60 years. The second point was that the appointment also goes against the judgment of the apex court in the case “Prakash Singh v. Union of India”. 

The judgment in the case of “Prakash Singh v. Union of India” made it necessary for a UPSC panel to be formed for the selection of the commissioner of Delhi police. This UPSC panel is to suggest three names and the government has to select any one out of these three. Here, in the case of appointment of Mr. Asthanano UPSC panel was formed. Another point made here was that of the minimum residual tenure of six months. The selected candidate, as laid down in the Prakash Singh Judgment, should have a minimum tenure of six months left before his retirement. 

Further, the petitioner’s council also argued that the appointment of the police chief should have been made from the Arunachal Pradesh – Goa – Mizoram and Union Territories Cadre. The government’s argument that RakeshAsthana, a Gujarat cadre officer, was the only fit option and that no other officer of the AGMUT cadre was found fit for the top job could have a demoralizing effect on the Police force. 

The Solicitor General, appearing for the centre, argued that this petition challenging the appointment of the Delhi Police Commissioner was an outcome of a vendetta against Mr. Asthana. He stated that eight similar appointments had been made after the Prakash Singh Judgment and that these were not challenged by the “public-spirited individuals”. It was also contented by the Solicitor General that the rules laid down by the Prakash Singh judgment apply only to the DGPs of states and not union territories. 

The centre, here, contended that the petition is a form of personal vendetta against Asthana and that it should be quashed by the apex court. 

Image Credits: The Hindu

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