AP HC sentences two govt officials to 'imprisonment till rising of the Court' holding them guilty of contempt

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Amaravati, Jul 6 (PTI): The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday sentenced an Indian Administrative Service officer and an Indian Forest Service officer to 'imprisonment till rising of the Court' holding them guilty of contempt.

IAS officer M Girija Shankar and IFS officer Chiranjiv Choudhary were made to undergo the punishment and also pay a fine of Rs 1,000 each for not implementing the Court orders relating to the appointment of 1,783 village horticulture assistants.

While Girija Shankar is now Commissioner of Panchayat Raj, Choudhary is Commissioner of Horticulture.

Justice Battu Devanand passed the order on Tuesday.

On June 22, the judge sentenced the two officers to a simple imprisonment of nine days and imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each.

'After the pronouncement of order of sentence, the contemnors again prayed this Court to pardon them considering their age and the service they rendered as officers of the State for all these years. They also assured to be more careful in future in implementing the Court orders,' the judge noted in his order on Tuesday.

'After considering the submissions of the respondents and in the interest of the families of the contemnors, in the opinion of this Court, it is not desirable for sending them into jail in the present situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, the sentence imposed is modified on humanitarian grounds to imprisonment till rising of the Court today and fine of Rs 1,000 each,' Justice Devanand added.

The case relates to a government notification for appointment of 1,783 village horticulture assistants in the newly created Village Secretariats, which was subsequently amended.

Some aggrieved candidates filed a writ petition in the High Court in September last year and the court passed an interim order suspending the amendment.

In March this year, the court made its order against the amendment 'absolute.' 'This Court is of the considered opinion that the respondents ought not to have proceeded with the selection process as per the amendment, which was suspended by this Court by order. The Court is left with no option except to hold that the action of the respondents is intentional, wilful and deliberate violation of the order passed by this Court,' Justice Devanand had noted in a previous order in the case.

As such, the respondents (Girija Shankar and Choudhary) were liable for punishment under the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, he added.PTI DBV SS PTI PTI

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