SC gives Delhi HC two weeks to decide on Rakesh Asthana being made DP chief

The bench, also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant, noted that a petition on the same issue has been filed in the Delhi High Court.
Rakesh Asthana

New Delhi, Aug 25 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi High Court to decide, within two weeks, the plea against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, said: “There are issues, one is about my participation in my matter as one ground. I have expressed my views about this gentleman in CBI selection.” He said that the second issue is that somebody had filed a plea against his appointment, which is pending in the high court.

The Chief Justice, while participating in the High-Powered Committee, had objected to the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the head of the CBI.

The top court was hearing a petition filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation challenging Asthana’s appointment.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, submitted: “I don’t think that disables your lordship at all.”

The bench, also comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant, noted that a petition on the same issue has been filed in the Delhi High Court.

“We know time is of essence… we will give time of 2 weeks to the high court to dispose of (the petition),” it noted, adjourning the plea for two weeks. It added it will have the benefit of the high court order in the matter.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that a similar petition is pending before the Delhi High Court and the petitioner before the apex court should also be asked to move the high court.

Bhushan argued that the petition in the high court was a “copy-paste” from his client’s petition. “It was filed through somebody else after we filed the petition here,” he said.

“Today we find ambush petitions being filed, filed in collusion with the government to get a dismissal of a genuine petition,” he said, adding that the high court had adjourned the petition to the mid-September, after it was informed that a similar plea is pending in the apex court.

Bhushan vehemently argued that “egregious violations of rules” has taken place in Rakesh Asthana’s appointment, which has resulted in violation of fundamental rights of all citizens. The bench gave liberty to Bhushan to intervene in the petition filed before the Delhi High Court.

Mehta urged the top court to grant a period of at least four weeks to the high court to decide the matter, but the bench did not agree.

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