Strongly defending the appointment of Rakesh Asthana has Delhi Police Commissioner, the Centre today told the Supreme Court there was a “compelling need” to have someone like him in the post and his term was extended “in public interest”.
Rakesh Asthana’s appointment as Delhi Police chief in July, three days before his retirement, has been challenged by the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL). The petition cites a breach of Supreme Court directions requiring that an officer must have six months of service left for such an assignment.
The former CBI officer was granted a year’s extension after his appointment. He was also given a deputation from the Gujarat cadre to the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territory) cadre from which Delhi Police chiefs are usually picked.
There was nothing illegal in the appointment, the government said, urging the Supreme Court to scrap the petition.
There was a “compelling need” to have someone like Rakesh Asthana to head the Delhi police force, the Centre said in a response to the Supreme Court, adding that the IPS officer was given inter-cadre deputation and extension of service “in public interest”
Rakesh Asthana was appointed in the light of “extremely challenging situations” like Delhi’s public order, policing issues, and their implications on national security, the government said.
The Supreme Court will hear the case later today.
The Delhi High Court had earlier dismissed a challenge to Mr Asthana’s appointment after the government made a similar argument.