The Telangana High Court has come down heavily on the state government for its decision to earmark almost Rs 60 crore towards fighting contempt of court cases pending against state government bureaucrats in the high court. Expressing ‘surprise’ at the use of public money towards contempt of court cases, the two-judge division bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy passed an interim order, directing the government not to release the said amount.
A notice was served by the HC on August 4, 2021, to the Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar in his individual capacity and other officials namely the Secretaries of Revenue and Finance, Chief Commissioner – Land Administration and the Director of Treasuries, asking them to explain the guidelines for spending the taxpayer’s money. The court also wanted the govt to apprise the judges with treasury norms and if such financial assistance is allowed under the treasury rules.
The issue was brought to the fore by a lecturer, who in PIL said that the Telangana government had, on June 7, decided to provide financial assistance to bureaucrats for fighting contempt of court cases.
The state government had agreed to sanction Rs 58,95,63,000 for contempt cases pending in the high court, in an order dated June 7. There are approximately 250 contempt cases against state bureaucrats, according to estimates.
The members of the state Congress Party, meanwhile, have slammed the Telangana government for its “spend-thrift attitude” and demanded that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao should immediately oust Somesh Kumar as the Chief Secretary.
“The High Court judgment on the GO 208 is a slap in the face of the government as well as the bureaucrats toeing the lines of TRS regime,” said Congress leader and AICC spokesperson Dasoju Sravan Kumar. He criticised the State government for issuing the GO allowing the CS to spend 58.95 crores to exclusively fight contempt cases filed predominantly against him.