Former CBI official Rakesh Asthana’s appointment to the post of Commissioner of Delhi Police and his one-year extension in service has been challenged in the Delhi High Court. The matter will be heard today. The petitioner has sought action in the matter, claiming that the criteria for the appointment laid down by the Supreme Court have been ignored.
The order for Mr Asthana’s elevation was given by the Union Home Ministry on July 27 — just three days before he was about to retire. He was given a year’s extension in service as a matter of “public interest”, the government had mentioned in the order.
This, critics of the government said, was a violation of the Supreme Court ruling cited by Chief Justice NV Ramana during a meet to pick the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Mr Asthana, who was also in the race, got ruled out as Chief Justice Ramana — part of the three-member panel to pick the CBI chief — reportedly raised a Supreme Court decision that officers with less than six months left in service should not be considered for police chief posts.
The appointment as the Delhi Police chief was enabled by an extension in service granted “as a special case”, read the order from the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, comprising PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Days later, the Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against the appointment, seeking its reversal.
“I think the appointment of Rakesh Asthana is against the order of the Supreme Court. It is the duty of the Central Government to obey the orders of the Supreme Court and make appointments accordingly,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said.
Pointing to news reports about Mr Asthana being disqualified from the race for the CBI chief’s post, Mr Kejriwal said, “He was not eligible for that… for the same reason he is not even eligible for this post”.