The Allahabad High Court has recalled its order issuing a non-bailable warrant against the District Magistrate of Mathura, Navneet Singh Chahal in a case of a contempt plea filed over non-compliance with the Court's order. The order was recalled after the DM filed an affidavit stating that he has complied with the Court's order.
The Bench of Justice Saral Srivastava had issued the warrant on April 26 and had ordered the police to produce Chahal before the Court on May 12 for 'disrespecting' the court's September 2021 order.
The background of the instant contempt plea
Essentially, in September last year, the Court had quashed an order of the UP Government of 2016 denying the payment of pension to applicants [Braj Mohan Sharma and 3 Others] on the ground that services rendered by them prior to the date of regularization shall not be counted as qualifying service so as to entitle them the benefit of the old pension scheme.
In its September 2021 order, the Court had observed that the services rendered for a very long period cannot be ignored while computing qualifying services.
Further, the Court had issued a direction to the Commissioner & Secretary, Board of Revenue, U.P., Lucknow for computing and payment of pension to the applicants, taking into account services rendered by them with effect from 1996 for the purposes of qualifying service.
Now, when this order of the Court was not complied with, the applicants moved to the Court by way of filing a contempt plea. Hearing the contempt petition in Feb 2022, the Court sought the response of the DM, Mathura, and ordered it to comply with the order of the Writ Court.
Pursuant to the order of the Court, the DM, Mathura filed a compliance affidavit filed before the Court enclosing an order passed by him on 18.04.2022, wherein, he had refused to grant the benefit of service rendered by the applicants prior to their regularization.
Significantly, the order by the DM, Mathura stated that since the review application had been filed by the State Government for reviewing of Court's September 2021 and till the disposal of the review application, the DM, Mathura added, no benefit as directed by this Court can be extended to the applicants.
Perusing the order of the Court, the bench of Justice Saral Srivastava, in a strongly worded order, had observed thus:
"The order dated 18.04.2022 passed by opposite party-District Magistrate, Mathura is nothing but gross contemptuous act by the District Magistrate inasmuch as it cannot be believed that such an officer could not understand the intent and simple language in which the order of this Court has been passed. It is very surprising that despite a clear mandate issued by this Court, the District Magistrate, Mathura sat over in appeal of the order passed by this Court."
Now, on May 6, an affidavit was moved before the High Court by the DM submitting that he had passed a fresh order on April 28 (two days after the Court's order) and has extended all the benefits to the applicants and thus, he has complied with court's order.
In his affidavit, he also stated that he had no intention to violate the order passed by the Court.
In view of this, recalling the order issuing the non-bailable warrant, the Court made clear that if the entire amount due to the applicants is not credited in their account by the next date fixed (May 12, 2022), the Court may proceed to frame charge against the DM.
Case title - Braj Mohan Sharma And 3 Others v. Mr. Navneet Chahal D.M. Mathura [CONTEMPT APPLICATION (CIVIL) No. - 322 of 2022]