SC dismisses PIL against appointment of former CBI spl dir Asthana as DG civil aviation security

PTI
Thursday, 31 January 2019

"Multiple causes of action have been combined, one having no connection with the other", said a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi while refusing to entertain the plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday dismissed a PIL challenging the appointment of former CBI special director Rakesh Asthana as director general of the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).
 
"Multiple causes of action have been combined, one having no connection with the other", said a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi while refusing to entertain the plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma.
 
"You can't bring everything under the sky in a PIL under Article 32. Can these prayers together be adjudicated upon in a PIL. You have mixed multiple issues," said the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, while dismissing the plea.
 
Referring to the prayers, the bench said the first one sought quashing of appointment of Asthana and second demanded suspension of Asthana. 

It further said that the plea also sought quashing of the decision of the high-powered Selection Committee which had removed CBI Director Alok Verma.
 
It also sought framing of "suitable guideline" for terminating the services of the CBI director besides other reliefs, the court said.
 
"Multiple causes of action have been combined, one having no connection with the other. While some of the reliefs sought may lie, if at all within the jurisdiction of the Service Tribunal, the other reliefs sought are not appropriate for being dealt with in the manner in which they have been projected. 

"We, therefore, decline to entertain this petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution. The same is accordingly dismissed," the bench said.
  
Sharma, in his plea, had said the appointment of Asthana was in contradiction to the law and he be suspended in view of the pending investigation against him.
 
The Delhi High Court had on January 11 refused to quash the FIR lodged against Asthana on bribery allegations and set a 10-week deadline to complete the investigation.
 
The government on January 18, however, appointed Asthana as director of the BCAS, India's regulatory authority for civil aviation security.
 
The petition said Asthana was under investigation for taking bribes within his duty and his appointment is contradictory to the Classification, Control and Appeal (CCA) Rules 1965.
 
It said: "Instead of suspension within the CCA rule-1965, Asthana has been promoted and appointed as chief of BCAS by during the pendency of the investigation under Delhi High court in a FIR for bribe and corruption in his official duty.
 
"This has created a serious injury to the judicial and public office systems violating Articles 21 and 14 and destruction of faith in the three constitutional office of the country." 

Asthana was booked on allegations of criminal conspiracy, corruption and criminal misconduct under the relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

The Gujarat cadre IPS officer was at loggerheads with his boss former CBI Director Alok Verma for several months and both of them had levelled charges of corruption against each other.
 
In a controversial order on October 23, 2018, the government had divested the powers of Verma and Asthana sending them on forced leave.

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