3 Aug 2023 11:01 AM GMT
The Madras High Court has sentenced IAS officer Pradeep Yadav and two others to two weeks imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1000 each in a contempt case for failure to implement earlier orders of the court. The court observed that the officer had failed to implement the order of the court while he was holding the post of Principal Secretary to School Education Department. Justice...
The Madras High Court has sentenced IAS officer Pradeep Yadav and two others to two weeks imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1000 each in a contempt case for failure to implement earlier orders of the court. The court observed that the officer had failed to implement the order of the court while he was holding the post of Principal Secretary to School Education Department.
Justice Battu Devanand refused to accept the unconditional apology tendered by the officers.
“In the opinion of the Court, if any lenient view is taken against such type of officers, who are not implementing the orders of this Court, years together, and implementing Court orders only after directing their appearance before the Court, in the opinion of this Court, it will send wrong message to such type of Government officers,” the court said.
The contempt petition was filed by one Gnana Pragasam against the IAS officer, The Director of Teacher Education Research and Training Education, The Principal of the District Institute of Education and Training and the Correspondent Oliyasthanam Teacher Training Institute. It was argued that the respondents had failed to comply with an earlier order of the court wherein the court had ordered that Pragasam’s service be regularised w.e.f. 01.04.1979 on par with that of the similarly placed persons and extend the monetary benefits by passing suitable orders within a period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of the order.
Pragasam submitted that his service was regularised only in March 19, 2021, and monetary benefits were not paid as per the observation of the court and thus the respondent authorities were liable for punishment under the provisions of Contempt of Courts Act for the wilful disobedience of the court.
On the other hand, the respondents submitted that a writ appeal was filed against the order of the single judge and when the same was dismissed, immediately thereafter, Pragasam’s services were regularised and monetary benefits were settled on par with the similarly situated persons w.e.f. 30.06.2006 and as such there is no willful disobedience.
The court noted that after statutory notice was issued, the authorities appeared and sought time to comply with the order in toto and thereafter they issued a Government Order to extend the monetary benefits w.e.f 27.01.2000 to 29.06.2006 and also placed a certificate from the Principal, District Institute of Education and Training, wherein, it is stated that a sum of Rs.1,38,486/- has been credited to the petitioner's account on 28.07.2023 as per G.O.
The court thus noted that even though the writ appeal was dismissed on August 5, 2019, the service was regularised only on March 19, 2021 and there was further abnormal delay to settle the monetary benefits.
Though the respondents also submitted that a contempt appeal was preferred against earlier observations made by the court in the matter, the court noted that the same was nothing but an abuse of the process of law as the earlier observations regarding prima facie contempt was a mere observation and not an order of the court.
The court also refused to accept the submission of Yadav that he was transferred to another department on February 2020 and noted that the order was made in 2012 and the writ appeal was dismissed in 2019. Thus, the court noted that at the time of dismissal of appeal, the officer was holding the post of Principal Secretary to School Education Department and thus, it was his responsibility to implement the order which he could not escape.
Thus, finding that there was wilful disobedience, the court held that the officers were liable for punishment under the provisions of Contempt of Court Act 1971 and ordered accordingly.
Case Title: P Gnana Pragasam v Pradeep Yadav IAS and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 216
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr.K.Ragatheeshkumar for M/s.Issac Chambers
Counsel for the Respondent: Mr.J.Ravindran, Senior Counsel, Mr.Veerakathiravan Senior Counsel Assisted by Mr.V.Nirmal Kumar