Do not play with orders of court, SC tells officials

The Supreme Court on Monday rebuked two officials of the Uttarakhand government for “playing with orders of the court” and violating its direction on demolishing “unauthorised” buildings without giving notice to the encroachers. The apex court said it was not inclined to accept the apology or the defence of the contemnor officers who have not shown any sense of “regret or genuine remorse” for their actions. A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul said the affidavit filed by the two officers — District Magistrate (Haridwar), and Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Roorkee — were not satisfactory and it was a case of wilful disobedience of the court’s order. ‘Contempt of court’ The Bench did not accept the defence of the woman IAS officer that she was a 2015 batch officer and was too junior to understand the implication of the court’s order. “Playing around with the court’s order is not a healthy exercise. We will hold them guilty of contempt of court,” the Bench said, adding that it was inclined to sentence them to “till the rising of the court”. The Bench gave one last opportunity to the officers to come up with a fresh affidavit in the contempt plea filed against them by one of the encroachers, whose building was demolished. The SC had on December 4, pulled up the officials for demolishing “unauthorised” buildings without giving notice to the encroachers despite court orders. The counsel appearing for the officials said they tender an unconditional apology but the orders were received after the demolition exercise was over. The SC had passed the order after some encroachers moved against the district administration’s exercise to demolish 41 houses in Jaurasi village, Haridwar.

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