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Rakesh Asthana appointed Delhi Police Commissioner to improve law and order after Delhi riots: Centre affidavit in Delhi HC

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The Central Government has informed the Delhi High Court that it has appointed Gujarat-cadre IPS Rakesh Asthana as Police Commissioner of NCT of Delhi in ‘public interest,’ to supervise the Delhi Police force and provide ‘effective policing’ on the recent law and order situation, which arouse in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (referring to North East Delhi Riots). 

The Centre yesterday told the bench that it will place the original file before the court, which has reasons that both inter-cadre deputation as well as the extension of service of Rakesh Asthana was granted in public interest. 

Copy-Paste Petition without merits

The present reply has been filed by the Centre in the petition challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS Officer Rakesh Asthana as the Police Commissioner of Delhi by one Sadre Alam and intervention application filed in that petition by the organisation Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL). It said the present petition, in fact, is a verbatim reproduction of a petition filed by the intervener before the Supreme Court and the same should be dismissed with cost. The Delhi High Court had recently issued notice in the plea, as well as allowed the intervention plea by the organisation, CPIL. 

Compelling need to appoint an experienced officer

In its reply, the Centre gave reasons to appoint IPS Rakesh Asthana as Police Commissioner of Delhi, stating that the prime consideration for the same was that GNCT being the capital of the country, has been witnessing diverse and extremely challenging situations of public order/law and order situation/policing issues which not only had national security implications, but also international/cross border implications. 

Further it stated, “A compelling need was felt by the Central Government to appoint a person as a head of the police force of Delhi, who had diverse and vast experience of heading a large police force in a large State having diverse political as well as public order problem/experience of working and supervising Central Investigating Agency(s) as well as para-military forces. To achieve the above purpose, a search was done in AGMUT cadre, which is the IPS cadre for GNCT.

“However, since the AGMUT cadre being a cadre comprising Union Territory and small north-eastern states, it was felt that requisite experience of working and supervising the central investigating agency/para-military force and police force of a large State having diverse political and law & order problem was lacking in the present pool of available officers and hence in public interest, a decision was made by the Central Government to have an officer who had experience in all the above fields to supervise Delhi Police force and to provide effective policing on the recent law and order situation, which arose in the National Capital Territory of Delhi,”

-said the 288-page Counter-Affidavit filed by Sanjeev Kumar, Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The affidavit further read,

“No case of procedural irregularity or any fundamental illegality has been made out by the petitioner in the instant writ petition, and therefore, in the respectful submission of the deponent the same is liable to be dismissed with cost. Apart from the above it is also well settled that a PIL is not maintainable in a service matters.The present petition is also liable to be dismissed on this count also.”

Furthermore the reply also denied that the impugned appointment was made in violation of Prakash Singh’s Case while stating it a ‘erroneous contention’.

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The Centre stated that, “the said judgment is only applicable for the appointment to the post of “DGP of a State” / chief of the police administration of the entire State. The said judgment has no application for appointment of Commissioners/Police Heads of Union Territories falling under the AGMUT cadre and therefore the plea is completely misconceived and devoid of any merits.”

“while passing the judgment in Prakash Singh‟s case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court itself made it clear that in so far as it‟s direction related to appointment of the DGPs was concerned the same was only in relation to the States and not in relation to UTs. While passing the judgment dated 22.09.2006 the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in utmost unambiguous terms, had held that the appointment which it was considering was the appointment of DGP of the State and not of head of a police force of any Union Territory,” it added. 

Any straightjacket or paediatric approach would not be in national interest: Centre 

It said, “Delhi being the Capital of our country has its own characteristic factors which does not exist in any other commissionerate. Apart from being the capital of the country, any incident happening here has far-reaching impacts and implications not only throughout the country but beyond the borders. In view thereof, it is respectfully submitted that any statutory provision or any other regime deserves to be read in such a way that a leeway is given to the Central Government in appointment of Delhi Police Commissioner. Any straightjacket or paediatric approach would not be in national interest.

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“It is reiterated that Delhi being the capital of the country has a specific and special requirement, which witnessed certain untoward and extremely challenging public order problems/riots/crimes which have international implication. This necessitated appointment of an experienced officer having diverse, multifarious experience of heading a Police Force in any large State/Central Investigating Agency/Para-military Security Forces etc to head the Delhi Police Force.

“Since the experience in all these domains was felt necessary by the Competent Authority to be present in an officer for the purpose of heading Delhi Police and also taking into cognizance the incident which had happened in the past, the Competent Authority considered it just and necessary and in public interest to have an officer having experience and knowledge of heading the Police Force of a vast State/Central investigating agency and para military /Police Force so as to effectively negotiate and handle the peculiar policing needs, the law and order situation in the National Capital of GNCT of Delhi,”

-added the affidavit.

The matter was listed today before the Delhi High Court bench led by Chief Justice D.N. Patel, but was adjourned for further hearing. 

Read the affidavit here:

Rakesh-Asthana

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