The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that the national capital has a specific and special requirement, as it witnessed certain untoward and extremely challenging public order problems/riots/crimes having an international implication, therefore appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi’s Commissioner of Police was made in “public interest”.
Justifying Asthana’s appointment, the Centre, in an affidavit, said: “Considering the complexities and the sensitivities involved and also considering that no officer of appropriate seniority with balanced experience, was available in the AGMUT cadre, it was felt that an officer belonging to a large state cadre, who had the exposure of complexities of governance and who had the knowledge of nuances of broad canvas policing is given charge of Commissioner of Police Delhi.”
The affidavit filed by an Under secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, stated that during the process of appointment of the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, the Cadre Controlling Authority (CCA) was faced with precarious situation, as most of the appropriate level officers of AGMUT cadre were not having sufficient balanced experience of policing in a vast law and order sensitive state/central investigating agency/national security/para-military force for appointment of Delhi Police chief.
“It was felt that an officer belonging to a large state cadre, who had the exposure of complexities of governance and who had the knowledge of nuances of broad canvas policing is given charge of Commissioner of Police, Delhi,” said the 288-page affidavit, filed through advocate Rajat Nair.
Defending Asthana’s appointment, the Centre said in public interest, a decision was made by it to have an officer who had experience in all the required fields to supervise Delhi Police force and to provide effective policing on the recent law and order situation which arose in the capital. The Centre insisted that no fault can be found in his appointment which has been done in accordance with and after scrupulously following all the applicable rules and regulations.
The Centre’s response came on a PIL which seeking quashing of the July 27 order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs appointing Asthana as the Delhi Police chief and also the order granting inter-cadre deputation and extension of service to him just before his superannuation on July 31.
The affidavit claimed the PIL, as well as the intervention of NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, was an abuse of process of law and manifestly an outcome of some personal vendetta against the incumbent Police Commissioner entertained by the petitioner as well as the intervener.
The Supreme Court on August 25, had asked the high court to decide within two weeks the plea pending before it against Asthana’s appointment. The matter is listed for further hearing on September 20.