DIMAPUR, APRIL 26: The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on Tuesday ordered RK Shah, the Chief Engineer of Project Sewak (GREF), to appear before the Court on May 9 next and personally answer why he has failed to comply with an order previously issued by the Court.
In an order, Justice Nelson Sailo directed the Chief Engineer to appear before the Court “positively at 10.30 a.m.”, and also explain why Contempt of Court proceeding should not be drawn against him.
The case relates to a contempt petition filed by Anie Paira, a resident of Midland in Dimapur, against Ajay Kumar, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Defence; Lt. General Rajeev Chaudhary, Director General of Border Roads Organisation; and RK Shah.
As per Court records, Anie, the wife of late Kumar Paira, had filed the contempt petition alleging wilful and deliberate violation by the respondents of the High Court orders passed on November 7, 2019 and December 2, 2020.
In the November 7, 2019 order, the Court had directed the respondents to pay the petitioner a land compensation (amounting to Rs 7,69,45,120) by depositing it with the Deputy Commissioner of Dimapur, within 4 months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order by the appellant No. 3 (RK Shah).
And in the December 2, 2020 order, the Court had rejected an interlocutory application filed by the three respondents seeking 4 months’ extension of time for obtaining decision of competent authority on the order passed by the Court on November 7, 2019.
“It is preposterous that the Ministry of Defence has the competence to take a decision on the judgment passed by this Court. Accordingly, the grounds on which this prayer for extension of time is passed is hereby rejected as the Court cannot permit the Ministry of Defence to take a decision on the judgment and order passed by this Court, who may either implement it or assail it.
“Nonetheless, the Court is inclined to grant time till January 31, 2021 to implement the judgment and order dated November 7, 2019”, it had stated.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Judge noted that after the Court had issued a notice to the respondents on July 27, 2021, RK Shah had responded by engaging Yangerwati, the Counsel, through a vakalatnama signed on November 5, 2021.
According to Court records, Shah had also filed an affidavit-in-opposition on behalf of himself as well as two other respondents on November 9, 2021, ‘indicating the claim’ that he was competent to swear on the affidavit for himself and the two other respondents.
“The present case being a contempt petition and the respondents arrayed by name, the respondent No. 3 (Shah) cannot file an affidavit on behalf of the respondent Nos. 1 & 2, particularly when there is no statement to the effect that he has been duly authorised by the said respondents to swear the affidavit on their behalf, and besides, there being no separate vakalatnama or otherwise executed by the respondent Nos. 1 & 2. Therefore, the affidavit at best can be accepted as an affidavit filed by the respondent No. 3”, the Judge ruled.
More significantly, Justice Sailo remarked that on perusal of the affidavit filed by Shah, “it is nowhere seen that the respondent No. 3 or other authorities concerned are in the process of complying with the direction of this Court passed in the judgment and order as already referred to herein above”.
He noted that when the matter was heard on April 21, the Counsel for the respondent, Yangerwati, had produced a letter written on April 6, 2022 by one Col. Naresh Sharma, Director (Planning) for the Chief Engineer, Project Sewak (GREF) stating: “As Project Sewak is not of independent entity, it has to seek direction and order from higher Headquarters after duly apprising the said Court order to them as well. Therefore, it is requested to seek time, permission for CGSC 3 months to formally represent the case being an official procedure.”
The letter was marked to HQ DGBR/LC-SWK, Seema Sadak Bhawan, Ring Road, Delhi Cantt, New Delhi and RLC (ES), Care HQ ADGBR (East).
“A perusal of the above communication nowhere indicates that the respondent authorities concerned are in the process of complying with the Court’s direction. This Court in fact on May 24, 2022 had recorded a detailed observation giving time to Mr. Yangerwati, learned Counsel for the respondent No. 3, to obtain appropriate instructions in the matter. From the communication dated May 6, 2022 produced by Mr. Yangerwati, it is also seen that the respondent No. 3 is in receipt of the order dated May 24, 2022 of this Court.
“However, even as on today, the Court has not been informed about the steps taken for complying with the direction other than being informed about the Communication dated May 6, 2022 as produced by Mr. Yangerwati.
“In view of above, the respondent No. 3 is directed to appear in person before this Court on 09.05.2022 positively at 10:30 a.m., to personally answer as to why the order(s) of the Court has not been complied with and as to why contempt proceeding should not be drawn against him”, stated the order.
Depending upon the response given by Shah, the Court may also further consider directing the personal appearance of the two other respondents as well, the order added.
The Judge listed the matter to be heard again on May 9.
(Page News Service)