The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will give comprehensive guidelines to courts around the country on the topic of summoning officials in cases involving the government and its officials.
A bench consisting of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra ruled that there must be separate procedures for dealing with contempt actions arising from non-compliance with final decisions and interim orders in pending cases.
In pending cases, affidavits of officials may suffice, but in contempt charges originating from non-compliance with court orders, the attendance of government officials concerned may be required, according to the bench.
“We will establish some guidelines for summoning government officials.” There must be a distinction between things that are pending and those that have been adjudicated. “Summoning officers is not required for pending (cases), but once adjudication is complete, contempt kicks in,” it stated. The court was hearing a case involving the summoning of two government officials for contempt of court by the Allahabad High Court.
On April 20, the Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of two Uttar Pradesh finance department secretaries who had been detained on the orders of the Allahabad High Court in a contempt case.
The petition was then referred to an urgent hearing by Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, who was representing the Uttar Pradesh government.
He stated that the high court issued a “unprecedented order” in which the finance secretary and special secretary (finance) were arrested for contempt in a case involving facilities for retiring high court justices.
According to Nataraj, the high court also issued bailable warrants against the state’s chief secretary in the matter.
On April 4, the Allahabad High Court stated that the officers present in the court, Shahid Manzar Abbas Rizvi, Secretary (Finance) UP, and Sarayu Prasad Mishra, Special Secretary (Finance), had been taken into jail and will be placed before the court for charge framing.
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