Hyderabad: Expressing anger at the Assembly membership of two Congress legislators not being restored, the Hyderabad High Court on Friday said that if necessary it would summon Assembly secretary Dr V. Narasimha Charyulu and law secretary V. Niranjan Rao and implead Speaker S. Madhusudhana Chary in the contempt case. Justice B. Siva Sankara Rao was dealing with a contempt petition filed by expelled Congress MLAs Komatireddy Venkata Reddy and S.A. Sampath Kumar.
Reminding that a similar situation had arisen in the S.R. Bommai case, the judge said the Supreme Court had justified the High Court’s order in that case. The judge said that the Constitution was supreme and no one was above it. The legislature, executive and the judiciary have to abide by the Constitution. Justice Sankara Rao said the issuance of the notice to the Speaker would not be considered as a clash or confrontation between the judiciary and the legislature.
Reminding that the High Court had suspended the resolution of the Assembly that expelled the petitioners, and a division bench had dismissed an appeal against the order of the single judge, the judge said despite these orders the non-restoration of the membership of the petitioners and not paying them salaries and not restoring their security cover amounted to the contempt of court.
The judge said that there was prima facie contempt against the legislative secretary and law secretary and the court could serve notice under Form 1 of the Contempt of Courts Act.
Counsel for the petitioners told the court that both the secretaries are aware of the High Court orders in the case. He said that every month the Assembly Secretariat forwards a list of members of the House to the Election Commission.
When the judge asked whether the names of the petitioners were in the latest list, counsel replied in negative. The judge said it is a deliberate violation on the part of the respondents. Counsel said that the security cover of the petitioners was withdrawn by the government based on the notification of the Assembly, but it was not restored even after High Court had set it aside.
When Justice Sankara Rao asked who counsel meant by “government”, he said it was the superintendents of police of Nalgonda and Gadwal. Asking how they dared to commit such a mistake, the judge said the SPs had committed contempt and the court would decide later whether they too had to be impleaded as respondents. The judge said it appeared that the police officials are were of the opinion that the Assembly secretary’s notification was greater than the court order.
When senior counsel Vedula Venkata Ramana, appearing for the Assembly secretary, tried to advance his arguement, the judge said that he would be heard after issuing Form 1 notice. Additional advocate-general J. Ramachandra Rao, appearing for the law secretary, submitted that the official had nothing to do with this issue. The judge said the law secretary was also a judicial officer and he had to explain the consequences of non-implementation of the court order to the government. Justice Sankara Rao said he would explain to the law secretary how his act fell under the contempt Act when he appears before the court and adjourned the case to August 3....