the Allahabad High Court issued a non-releasable mandate against the Mathura District Magistrate, Navneet Singh Chahal in the case of a contempt plea filed for failure to comply with the court order.
The court ordered the police to produce Chahal in court on May 12 for “disrespecting” the September 2021 court order.
The context of the instant contempt plea
Essentially, in September last year, the Court overturned a 2016 UP government order denying pension payments to the claimants [Braj Mohan Sharma and 3 Others] on the grounds that the services rendered by them before the date of regularization must not count as qualifying service to entitle them to the benefit of the old pension scheme.
In its September 2021 order, the Court had observed that services rendered for a very long period cannot be ignored when calculating eligible services.
In addition, the Court had given a direction to the Commissioner and Secretary, Board of Revenue, UP, Lucknow for the calculation and payment of the pension to the applicants, taking into account the services rendered by them from 1996 for the purposes of qualifying service .
However, this order of the Court having not been respected, the applicants addressed themselves to the Court by filing a plea of contempt. HHearing the contempt motion in February 2022, the Court sought the Deputy Minister’s response, Mathura, and ordered it comply with the order of the Court of Writs.
Pursuant to the Court Order, the DM, Mathura filed an Affidavit of Compliance filed in Court attaching an Order made by him on 04.18.2022, in which, he had refused to grant the benefit of the service rendered by the applicants before their regularization .
Significantly, Deputy Mathura’s order stated that Since the review petition was filed by the state government for the September 2021 Court review and until the review petition is decided, the DM, Mathura added, no benefit such as ordered by this Court cannot be granted to the plaintiffs.
Read the Court Order carefullythe bench Judge Saral Srivastavain a strongly worded order, observed thus:
“The order of 18.04.2022 passed by the opposing party of the District Magistrate, Mathura, is nothing but an act of gross contempt on the part of the District Magistrate inasmuch as one cannot not believe that such an officer could not understand the intent and plain language in which the order of this Court was passed. It is very surprising that despite a clear warrant issued by this Court, the District Magistrate, Mathura sat in appeal of the order made by this Court.“
The District Magistrate is expected to know the basic principle of law that so long as the ordinance is not suspended, the ordinance remains in force and the authority is bound to comply with the order, the court added.
Characterizing the DM’s order as nothing but an abuse of power on the part of the District Magistrate and which amounted to a flagrant disregard for the order of this Court, the Court further made the following remark :
“Although normally this Court would have issued a non-releasable warrant, but in such egregious facts where the order of this Court has been violated with impunity, this Court cannot turn a blind eye and uphold the majesty and dignity of the Court so that public confidence cannot erode the judicial system, this Court finds that this is a fit and proper case in which a non-dischargeable warrant is issued against the District Magistrate, Mathura, who must be brought into custody on the next fixed date.”
Case Title – Braj Mohan Sharma and 3 others v. Mr. Navneet Chahal DM Mathura [CONTEMPT APPLICATION (CIVIL) No. – 322 of 2022]
Click here to read/download the order