Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Wednesday repeatedly advised officials of the state machinery at various levels to be careful and prompt in implementing court orders.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy stated: “If the state and its machinery show scant regard to the orders of the court, then the court will also treat them with equal distinct. If the officials have the confidence that they can get away from the contempt case by filing an appeal, then this court will shake and stir their confidence.”
The court hinted that from now on, every contempt case against any officer will be listed out from the records of the high court and if it was found that any officer was involved in a contempt of court, then it would take a serious view of this”.
Opining that nowadays, a go-easy attitude has developed among the contemnor officials, Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy reminisced the situations wherein the issuance of a Form-1 Notice by the high court to any official would, in the past, have ended the entire case. Now, the officials seem to have the confidence (to take such things easy) and come to the conclusion that, even if they are contemnors in a contempt case, they can get away with it by filing an appeal and offering an apology. But, the court cannot spare the contemnors,” Justice Reddy clarified.
The court observed that the contempt cases and contempt appeal cases are being filed in larger numbers, and this is forcing the high court to arrange two judges to exclusively pursue these cases.
The division bench was dealing with various contempt appeals filed by contemnor officials who were found guilty in contempt cases, and ordered for punishments.
In the contempt appeals filed by the then additional collector Veera Reddy, Sangareddy, the RDO and tehsildar, Chief Justice Kohli directed the Registry of the high court to verify, collect and collate information from the court records to ascertain the fact that in how many contempt proceedings did the name of the then additional collector, Sangareddy appeared, and how many orders passed against the contemnor in these contempt proceedings.
The court directed the registrar to furnish such data to the court by June 16.
When the court asked about the earlier history of contempt cases against Veera Reddy and other officials, no answer came. So, the court directed the registrar to collate the information about these officials.
“Veera Reddy, the then additional collector of Sangareddy as also the RDO and tehsildar there had deliberately violated the orders of the single Judge and willfully interfered with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the land admeasuring Ac. 5.01 guntas in Kandi Chimnapur village, Sangareddy district, pertaining to EJ David and three others, despite clear orders from the court, not to interfere with the said land,” the court noted.
The unconditional apology tendered by the then additional collector in the form of an affidavit was allowed only to the extent of granting an exemption for him in an appearance before the court only for one day, on the ground that he tested Covid positive. But, the order in the contempt case will remain alive, the court said.
NALGONDA COLLECTOR TO FEED ORPHANS
In another contempt appeal, the high court directed Prashant J. Patil, working as the district collector in Nalgonda, to feed the orphans every weekend for six months, as a punishment for his willful disobedience of the court orders.
The division bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli directed the collector to spend two hours every weekend to serve the destitute in one of the orphanages in Nalgonda. This should be done for six months. “If he misses any weekend, that should be adjustable by serving an extra day,” the court ruled.
The compliance of these orders should be submitted before the high court after it was certified by the authority of the orphanage home and the district principal judge of Nalgonda, with details as to how many hours and the dates thereof he, Patil, had served in the orphanage. This report should be filed on October 30.
Patil, who was the then joint collector, civil supplies, Warangal district, had been found guilty in a contempt case for willfully disobeying the orders of the single judge by not allotting custom-milled paddy for the Kharif season 2015-16 to G. Chandrasekhar, proprietor of Parameshwara Binny Rice Mill, Parvathagiri mandal, Warangal, despite the fact that there were orders from the court that he allot the custom-milled paddy.
The single judge had directed Patil and D. Sandhyarani, the then DSO of Warnagal, now reitered. to pay a fine of Rs 2000 and in default, suffer simple imprisonment of six weeks.
Challenging the orders, both Patil and Sandhya Rani filed contempt appeals. On an earlier occasion, the division bench directed Prashant J Patil to do social service, if he wants to avoid punishment.
On Wednesday, special counsel for Telangana representing Patil submitted that the collector will undertake the task of enrolling more girl students in schools, treating this as a social service, as there was a reduction in girls’ admissions.
The bench disagreed with the proposal by saying was his statutory duty as collector of the district. It directed him to serve the orphanage home in Nalgonda town, in which there are 40 inmates.
The court also directed Sandhyarani, retired and suffering from bad health, to arrange the food in one of the orphanage homes in Malkajgiri area on Ugadi and Srirama Navami festival days. As she was unable to serve in the orphanage home, due to the ill health, the court directed her to arrange food for two days.
The court, while disposing of the contempt appeal, observed that in the event of the district collector of Nalgonda facing any contempt proceedings in future, he shall on his own place a copy of this order along with the reply to the contempt petition for the perusal of the concerned court.
If the court finds that these orders had not been complied with, then the punishment will be revived automatically.