The Supreme Court, on Wednesday, stayed the suo motu contempt proceedings initiated by the Patna High Court against Mr. Anand Kishore, Chairman of the Bihar School Education Board (BSEB).
The Bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan also issued notice on the petition challenging this order. The petitioner board was resented by Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar and Advocates Gopal Singh, Manish Kumar and Shivam Singh.
The Patna High Court had, last month, initiated contempt proceedings against Mr. Kishore for failing to grant affiliation to a school despite court orders.
The High Court had been petitioned by the Sri Ram Chandra Senior Secondary School, challenging an order passed by the BSEB cancelling the affiliation granted to it.
During the hearing of this petition, it was admitted before the court that before deciding to cancel the affiliation of the school, the matter was not placed before the Affiliation Committee of the Board. The impugned orders were therefore quashed on September 1.
However, the school, through Advocate Arun Kumar, had now approached the court, alleging that the BSEB was not treating it as affiliated despite orders to the contrary.
In its counter-affidavit, BSEB had submitted that if it allowed students to be admitted to the school, “a right would accrue to such students and the Board would be in a dilemma whether or not to cancel/withdraw the affiliation notwithstanding the fact that the institution in question has not been able to fulfil the standards and requirements in terms of affiliation regulation.”
The court had opined that the board’s stand “verged on the contempt of Court”, and had then sought the chairman’s views on the issue. The chairman had thereafter submitted that while setting aside the board’s order, the court had not granted any consequential relief directing the board to restore the affiliation.
“In the absence of any consequential relief having been granted to the petitioners, they cannot claim that they be permitted to admit students, on a presumption that their affiliation has been restored,” he had submitted.
Dealing with the chairman’s affidavit, the court had noted that while quashing the impugned order, it had clearly observed that consequences shall follow in terms of its decision. It had then rapped the chairman for failing to deduce this from the court’s judgment, observing,
“Quashing of the order of cancellation of affiliation has natural consequence of restoration of the affiliation. If this simple thing, the Chairman of the Bihar School Examination Board is not able to understand, then either he is thoroughly incompetent to hold the position, which he is holding, or he is deliberately attempting to overreach the order of this Court.”
The High Court had therefore initiated contempt proceedings against him, being of the prima facie view that “the Chairman of the Bihar School Examination Board has committed gross contempt of Court firstly, by not giving effect to the decision of the Court and secondly, by taking a plea, as has been noted above, in his affidavit, which had aggravated the contempt.”
The matter had been directed to be listed on 8 October, along with the contempt matter, with a direction to the chairman to show cause as to why he shouldn’t be punished for contempt of court.