1 Oct 2021 2:00 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday held 9 officers of the Tamil Nadu Government guilty of contempt of court for not implementing a direction to revise the seniority list of officers in the Public Works Department.A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai held that the officers have committed civil contempt of court for not following the order passed by the Supreme Court on January...
The Supreme Court on Friday held 9 officers of the Tamil Nadu Government guilty of contempt of court for not implementing a direction to revise the seniority list of officers in the Public Works Department.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai held that the officers have committed civil contempt of court for not following the order passed by the Supreme Court on January 22, 2016.
The following are the officers who the Court held as contemnors (their designations at the relevant time given in brackets) :
1. M. Vijayakumar IAS (Secretary, Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission).
2. S. Thinakaran( Engineer-in-Chief, WRD and Chief Engineer (General), TN PWD)
3. S. Swara IAS (Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu, P & AR Dept)
4. K. Ramamoorthy (Engineer-in-Chief(WRO) and Chief Engineer(General), TN PWD).
5.K. Nanthakumar IAS (Secretary, TNPSC).
6. K. Shanmugham (Chief Secretary to the Govt of Tamil Nadu).
7. Dr. K. Manivasan IAS(Principal Secretary to Govt of TN).
8. S.K Prabhakar (Secretary, PWD).
9. S. Bhaktavachalam.
In the order dated January 16, 2016, the Supreme Court, while dismissing the Government's special leave petition against a judgment of the Madras High Court, held that seniority list should be drawn on the basis of merit list of selection and not on the basis of roster point.
The contempt petitions were filed stating that the respondents published a revised seniority list breaching the principle laid down by the Supreme Court.
The respondents argued that the judgment of the High Court had no general application and was confined to individual cases. It was also argued that the doctrine of merger is not applicable to an order dismissing Special Leave Petition, and hence contempt, if any, should be agitated before the High Court and not the Supreme Court.
The bench rejected the arguments of the contemnors. It noted that the High Court had specifically declared that the judgment was not confined to individual cases. Also, the bench stated that a principle of law declared in an order dismissing a special leave petition is binding on the parties, even though the doctrine of merger is not applicable to it. In this connection, the bench referred to the precedent in Kunhayammed and Others v. State of Kerala and Another (2000) 6 SCC 359.
"In that view of the matter, the respondents were bound to follow the law laid down by this Court and determine the inter se seniority on the basis of selection by TNPSC and not on the basis of roster point", the bench noted in the order.
The Court directed the respondents to revise and publish the seniority list of the selectees, who were selected in the selection process conducted in pursuance of the notification issued by TNPSC dated 10th September 1999, strictly on the basis of the merit determined by it in the selection process and not on the basis of the roster point.This was directed to be done within a period of 12 weeks.
The Court posted the matter to January 10, 2022 for hearing the contemnors on the quantum of punishment. They were asked to be present before the Court on that day for the hearing.
Case Title : V. Senthur and another versus M. Vijayakumar IAS and others |Contempt Petition(Civil) 638/2017
Coram : Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai
Appearances : Advocate Prashant Bhushan (for petitioners); Senior Advocate CS Vaidyanathan(for TNSPC), Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, V Giri and P Wilson(for respondents)
Citation : LL 2021 SC 526
Click here to read/download the judgment