Delhi High Court dismisses plea challenging Rakesh Asthana's appointment as police commissioner of Delhi.

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Rakesh Asthana mentioned that the legal challenge to his appointment as Delhi Police Commissioner was an abuse of process of law.

The Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre Indian Police Services (IPS) officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner. The bench, led by Chief Justice DN Patel, dismissed the plea stating PILs can't be allowed in service matters. The Centre’s decision to appoint Asthana to the post had violated a Supreme Court order, the plea said.

Asthana had been appointed as the Delhi Police chief just four days before he was set to retire as the director general of the Border Security Force on July 31. The petitioner had argued before the High Court that the Centre’s decision to appoint Asthana to the top post violated a Supreme Court order.

“The judgment [Prakash Singh v. Union of India] is saying minimum residual tenure of six month [after superannuation] should be there,” Alam’s lawyer BS Bagga said. “Here, four days before retirement, the appointment is made. This is bad in law.”

Defending his appointment, the Centre said that it felt a “compelling need” to “appoint a person who had diverse and vast experience of heading a large police force in a large state having diverse political as well as public order problems/experience of working and supervising Central Investigating Agency as well as paramilitary forces”. Asthana, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, told the court in his affidavit that a social media campaign was being waged against him and the challenge to his appointment was an abuse of the process of law rising from vendetta.

The bench said that; The Executive, which is responsible for the law and order situation in the National Capital, must have a reasonable discretion to select an officer it finds more suitable, based upon the career graph of such an officer, unless there is anything adverse in the service career of such an officer.

The court also held that the Supreme Court's judgements in Prakash Singh case I and II on appointment of police heads after empanelment of officers by the UPSC do not apply to Union Territories. 

The bench finally said "We have carefully perused the guidelines and are clearly of the view that the procedure concerns the appointment of DGP of a State and do not concern themselves with appointment of Police Commissioner/Head of the Police Force in the Union Territories, having a common AGMUT Cadre".