Rakesh Asthana case: Petition in Delhi HC a ‘copy paste’ of CPIL’s plea in SC, Prashant Bhushan tells HC
‘I am making a specific allegation against Central government. SG Tushar Mehta appeared in SC when our petition was heard and was aware of our petition,’ Prashant Bhushan submitted
Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday submitted before the Delhi High Court that the petition filed in High Court challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Commissioner of the Delhi Police was a "direct copy paste" of the petition on the same issue which he is arguing before the Supreme Court.
When the petition filed by one Sadre Alam was taken up by the Bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel, Bhushan stated that he has filed an intervention application in the matter pointing out that the present petition was a word for word reproduction of the plea filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) before the apex court.
"Please read our intervention and see the abuse of process of law that is being done. Neither petitioner nor counsel for government informed Court of correct position," Bhushan submitted, as per a report by Bar & Bench.
When Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing for the Union government, said that he was not aware of this fact, Bhushan said, "I am making a specific allegation against the Central government. [Solicitor General] Tushar Mehta appeared in Supreme Court when our petition was heard and was aware of our petition."
Counsel for the petitioner responded, "We are on the same grounds. These allegations should not be made."
The Court agreed to hear the main matter as well as the IA filed by Bhushan on Wednesday, September 1.
The plea filed by CPIL before the Supreme Court challenged an order passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs granting Asthana deputation, extension of service and appointing him as Delhi’s Commissioner of Police just four days before he was slated to retire.
It was contended that the order under challenge was blatantly violative of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh v Union of India since Asthana did not have the required minimum residual tenure of six months, no UPSC panel was formed for his appointment and the criteria of a minimum tenure of two years, as directed in the judgment, was ignored.
The plea also highlighted that in a High-Powered Committee meeting held in May 2021 comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of India, the Central government had attempted to appoint Asthana as the CBI Director. However, the proposal was reportedly rejected by the CJI NV Ramana citing the “six-month rule” laid down in Prakash Singh case.
Subsequently, a petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by Sadre Alam, challenging Asthana's appointment on similar grounds.
On August 25, the apex court ordered the Delhi High Court to decide within two weeks the plea filed by Alam for quashing the Central government's decision to appoint Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner.
During that hearing, CJI Ramana also expressed reservations regarding hearing the petition, since he was earlier part of the committee which had rejected the Central government's proposal to appoint Asthana as Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). National Herald had earlier reported that Asthana’s appointment could well be quashed by the court for violation of guidelines in Prakash Singh case.