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HC holds addl secy guilty of contempt of court, sentences him to its custody till its rising

twitter-logoPTI | March 26, 2019 | Updated 23:30 IST

Lucknow, Mar 26 (PTI) A Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Tuesday convicted Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary Mahesh Kumar Gupta for contempt of court and sentenced him to its custody till its rising. Gupta was taken into the court's custody at about 10.30 am and made to stay there till 3.15 pm, when the court adjourned for the day. The bench convicted Gupta on contempt of court charges for promoting some assistant review officers on the basis of a seniority list which had been struck off by the court earlier. The bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the senior IAS officer, stipulating that the sum would be recovered from him in his personal capacity and deposited with the State Legal Services Authority within a week. The plea for initiating contempt of court proceedings had been filed by Dr Kishore Tandon and others in 2018 alleging that despite the 2015 seniority list of the AROs having been set aside by the court on September 21, 2017, some AROs were promoted on its basis. The court had also ordered to prepare a fresh seniority list within six months. Acting on the plea, the bench had earlier sought explanations from erstwhile Chief Secretary Rajiv Kumar and Additional Chief Secretary Gupta. Chief Secretary Kumar, however, deposed in the court that he was not concerned with the matter. The court later found that Gupta was concerned with it and held him guilty of contempt of court on July 10, 2018 and directed him to appear before it. But Gupta moved the Supreme Court, challenging the high court order. The Supreme Court, however, sent him back to the high court, after recording his undertaking that he would issue a fresh seniority list within two months. When the matter came up for hearing before the high court Monday, the bench found that Gupta was not only flouting the high court order but he was also ignoring his undertaking to the apex court. The bench was irked that despite having been convicted on July 10, 2018 for contempt of court, he had not even bothered to appear before it for a hearing on the quantum of sentence. Accordingly, the bench Monday ordered Gupta to be present before it Tuesday for a hearing on the quantum of sentence. As Gupta appeared before the court at 10.30 am, Justice Chaudhary ordered him to be taken in the court's custody. The matter subsequently was taken up at 12.30 pm, when the judge inquired about Gupta who pleaded for leniency. His counsel tried to convince the court that Gupta has already complied with the order and the matter should be closed. But the judge said Gupta willfully defied the court order and "tried every trick" to go away with it, which cannot be tolerated. He said the violation of the court's orders cannot be allowed by any officer, howsoever higher post he may be holding. Thereafter, Gupta's lawyer repeatedly pleaded for leniency in awarding him the sentence. The judge sentenced Gupta to the court's custody till its rising. After the hearing ended, Gupta went out of the court room at 1.10 pm, when the court again inquired about him. Finding that Gupta was not in the courtroom, the judge got irked, when the Gupta stepped back into the courtroom. The judge rebuked him and warned him of stricter sentence if he did not show regard to the courts majesty, prompting Gupta to profusely apologise for stepping out of the court room. Gupta was then allowed to take refreshments and go to the bathroom during the recess. He was allowed to leave the courtroom finally when the judge retired to his chamber at 3.15 pm. PTI CORR NAV PTI 03262116 RAX RAX

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