Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday sentenced Additional Chief Secretary Mahesh Kumar Gupta till rising of the court, holding him guilty of contempt of court.
Justice Vivek Chaudhary also imposed a fine of Rs. 25, 000 on him, clarifying that the cost of the fine shall not be borne by the State Government.
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by Dr Kishore Tandon and eight other persons, alleging violation of the court’s orders passed in September 2017. The orders related to the preparation of seniority list of Assistant Review Officers (AROs), who were earlier known as Lower Division Assistants.
By its September, 2017 order, the court had set aside an earlier seniority list and had directed the State to prepare a fresh one in six months, based on the court’s directions. However, the State government did not complete the said exercise within the six month period and hence, the present contempt petition was filed.
During the hearing of this petition, Mr. Gupta had filed an affidavit submitting that the court’s judgment had been complied with and that a fresh seniority list had been declared. The petitioners, however, placed on record three orders promoting ten people on the basis of the previous seniority list which had been set aside by it.
Taking note of such submissions, the court held him guilty of contempt on Monday, observing, “Even otherwise, heavens will not fall in case the order of this Court, which is operative as on date, is complied with by the contemnor and seniority is fixed. In case, any deviation is made to that judgment ultimately in the special appeal, it would always open to issue appropriate amending seniority list and pass consequential order. It defies the logic and no explanation is placed before the Court by the contemnor as to why there is absolute refusal on part of contemnor to comply with the order of this Court.”
During the hearing on Tuesday, the court was informed that those who were promoted in violation of the its orders had been restored back to their original position. It was further informed that the benefits which were to accrue under the court’s orders to the petitioners had been considered and appropriate orders had been passed.
The court was assured that these decisions would be placed on record as soon as possible. Accepting these submissions, a week’s time was granted to the authorities to bring orders of compliance on record.
The court then went on to punish Mr. Gupta for contempt, ordering, “Having heard counsels for parties, contemnor Sri Mahesh Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary (now Additional Chief Secretary), Secretariat Administration Department, Government of U.P., Lucknow is sentenced till rising of the Court and with a fine of Rs.25,000/-“
The amount was directed to be deposited with the State Legal Service Authority within one week.