Centre defends before Supreme Court Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police chief

A 1984-batch IPS officer from Gujarat cadre, Asthana was Director-General of BSF before being appointed as Delhi Police Commissioner

Centre defends before Supreme Court Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police chief

Rakesh Asthana. File photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 5

The Centre has defended before the Supreme Court the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS Rakesh Asthana as the Police Commissioner of Delhi, saying the challenge to his appointment was due to personal vendetta.

A 1984-batch IPS officer from the Gujarat cadre, Asthana was the Director-General of the Border Security Force (BSF) before being appointed as Delhi Police Commissioner. Four days before his superannuation on July 31, 2021, the Appointments Committee of Cabinet appointed him as Delhi Police commissioner.

His appointment as Delhi Police Commissioner has been challenged by an NGO—Centre for Public Interest Litigation—mainly on the ground that it went against the top court’s ruling on such appointments in Prakash Singh’s case (2006) on police reforms.

The Delhi High Court had on October 12 last year dismissed a challenge to Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police Commissioner, saying there was no irregularity, illegality, or infirmity in his appointment. Thereafter, the NGO moved the top court.

A Bench of Justice DY Chandrachu – which had on November 26 issued notices to the Centre and Asthana on the NGO’s petition – posted the matter for final hearing. It could not hear it on Wednesday as it was busy with the issue of EWS quota in NEET for admission to PG medical courses.

In an affidavit filed in response to the PIL, the Centre said, “Considering the complexities and the sensitivities involved and also considering that no officer of appropriate seniority with balanced experience was available in the AGMUT Cadre, it was felt that an officer belonging to a large state cadre, who had the exposure of complexities of governance and who had the knowledge of nuances of broad canvas policing is given charge of Commissioner of Police Delhi,”

It said there was a “compelling need” to have someone like Asthana to head the police force of Delhi, in view of the national capital’s “extremely challenging situations” of public order, policing issues, and their implications on national security.

Asthana was chosen “to provide effective policing on the recent law and order situation” which arose in Delhi and that he was given inter-cadre deputation and extension of service “in public interest”.

 

Tribune Shorts


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