The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed the public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Commissioner of Delhi Police (Sadre Alam v. Union of India).
The Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh pronounced the judgment after it had reserved the verdict on September 27.
Advocate BS Bagga had appeared for the petitioner, Sadre Alam whereas Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for an intervenor, NGO Centre for PIL (CPIL) in the matter.
Asthana's appointment by the Centre was argued to be in contravention of the Supreme Court's judgment in Prakash Singh v. Union of India. Inter alia, it was also contended that Asthana has been appointed for one year, when the judgment says it has to be for two years. As per the judgment, for being appointed as police chief, there has to be a residual tenure of six months, which was not followed in this case, the Court was told.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had led the arguments for the Central government. He contended that the Prakash Singh judgment applies only to Directors General of Police (DGPs) of states, and not the Police Commissioner of Delhi. Asthana was appointed to the post in the public interest since he had the experience required, he said, inter alia.
There was also controversy over whether the petitioner had "copied" his petition from a plea moved by CPIL before the Supreme Court since the contents of both pleas were found to be highly similar. In view of the same, Mehta argued that the plagiarised petition is an abuse of process of law and a manifest outcome of personal vendetta.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi had made arguments on behalf of Asthana. Rohatgi opposed Alam's petition on the ground that it was not genuine and only a proxy plea. He also alleged that social media campaigns were being conducted against Asthana by Advocate Bhushan and argued that the challenge was motivated.