Contempt notices to 2 govt officers


In a scathing order, the high court of Bombay at Goa recently issued contempt notices to Madhura Naik, deputy director (administration), PWD, and Gurudas Potekar, director of accounts, for non-implementation of its orders to give assured career progression (ACP) scheme to a junior stenographer in the PWD.
"The officers of PWD have shown that they can flout the orders of this court with impunity and they are under impression that they can get away by not complying with the orders and by giving frivolous reasons for non-compliance," observed a division bench of Justices V M Kanade and U V Bakre. It further noted, "Ample opportunity and time was given by this court to the respondents to comply with the said orders. No reply even has been filed by the respondents, on oath, till today."
Apart from issuing the notices under provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, the notices are also issued by the court while exercising powers under Article 215 of the Constitution of India. Replies have been sought on February 21.
Petitioner Terezinha Fernandes, who is a junior stenographer in regular establishment, had to approach the high court on three occasions for the purpose of seeking her rightful dues from the government.
On the earlier two occasions, the court's separate division benches had passed specific directions directing the government to release her salary.
The high court has now ordered the government to pay arrears of her salary. It noted that despite two orders passed by the court, the respondents did not comply with the orders which are binding and are not open for the accounts department to sit in appeal over.
"Attitude of the respondent officers in PWD as well as in the accounts department is deplorable and despicable and such attitude has to be deprecated and an appropriate action, therefore, will have to be taken against them for deliberately and willfully not complying with the orders passed by this court," the bench observed.
It imposed costs of 10,000, to be paid initially by the government within four weeks to the petitioner, and directed the government to hold an inquiry to find the officers responsible for not complying with the court orders and to recover the costs from them.
The petitioner had sought all arrears of salary in terms of ACP scheme scale of 4,500-125-7,000 with effect from August 26, 2004 and to continue to pay the same with interest at the rate of 15% per annum and also to revise her pay scale in terms of the VI Pay Commission's recommendations. [TOI]