SC issues contempt notices to top officials of Bihar government
In the order dated 4th March 2020, this Court has reproduced, in extenso, the directions issued by the High Court of Patna in its order dated 12th December 2017.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday prima facie held several top officials of the Bihar government guilty of its contempt for not complying with its orders on paying pensionary and retiral benefits to some employees and sought their presence on February 22.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai was hearing the plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against officials including the state’s chief secretary and the principal secretary of the finance department for alleged willful disobedience of its orders.
“We, therefore, direct the respondent contemnors to remain present before this Court on 22nd February 2022 and show cause as to why they should not be held guilty for having committed contempt of this Court and be punished in accordance with the law,” the bench said in its order.
The case had a chequered history in which several employees of various corporations in undivided Bihar were sent on deputation to the state’s treasury department.
The employees were sent as many employees of the treasury department were either dismissed or suspended due to their role in the 1996 fodder scam.
However, they were denied pensionary and retiral benefits.
The Patna High Court and the Supreme Court took note of the judgement of the Jharkhand High Court on the similar plea of similarly situated employees and ordered that they be also paid pensionary and retiral benefits like any other government employees.
“We do not find any merit in the submissions made by Ranjit Kumar (senior advocate). In the order dated 4th March 2020, this Court has reproduced, in extenso, the directions issued by the High Court of Patna in its order dated 12th December 2017. The said order of the High Court of Patna is very clear. It was directed to the State of Bihar to grant benefits to each of the appellants therein by counting services as rendered by them in the Boards, Corporations and Public Sector Undertakings prior to their absorption and to grant them the pensionary benefits after counting such service in the Boards or Corporations,” it said.
While issuing the contempt notice and seeking the presence of the state’s officials, the bench said, “needless to state that compliance of the directions, in the meantime, will have a bearing on the punishment that may be inflicted upon the respondent contemnors.” PTI SJK SJK RKS RKS
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