oppn parties M Nageswar Rao Guilty of Contempt: Supreme Court Rightly Sets An Example

News Snippets

  • Flipkart assures employees that there will be no job or salary cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Although it was obvious, but the government still clarifies that there is no need to switch off appliances and only lights need to be switched off on April 5 at 9pm after confusion in the minds of some people
  • PM Modi and President Trump decide "to deploy full strength of (Indo-US) partnership" to fight against COVID-19
  • 17 states have reported 1023 cases of coronavirus linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, which translates to 30% of all positive cases in India
  • The government says people should not use alcohol-based hand sanitizers before lighting diyas or candles on April 5
  • The railways say there is no certainty yet when services will resume after the lockdown and a final decision will be taken in the next few days
  • As coronavirus cases multiply in Assam, six north-east states seal their borders with the state
  • Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POCOSO) putting all systems and protocols in place at war-footing to ensure there is no grid failure due to reduction in demand on April 5 at 9 pm
  • Power ministry scotches rumours that the power grid might fail due to the 9-minute blackout called by PM Modi on Sunday, April 5
  • Centre asks people to wear home-made masks if it is absolutely essential for them to step out of homes
  • Centre asks states to allow licensed street vendors to sell essential items
  • 8000 samples were tested across India on April 2, but the government said that testing will be need-based and will not be used as a confidence-boosting measure
  • Air India operating special flights to fly passengers stuck in India since the lockdown
  • For the first time in history, Darjeeling loses first flush tea due to suspension of garden work for Covid-19 outbreak
  • Supreme Court asks journalists to be responsible and publish only the official version of news after it was brought to its notice that migrant exodus started after the 'fake' news that the lockdown will be extended to three months
Total count stands ar 3082 as India records 16 Covid-19 deaths, the highest in a single day
oppn parties
M Nageswar Rao Guilty of Contempt: Supreme Court Rightly Sets An Example

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2019-02-15 20:59:22

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court did well to refuse to accept the apology tendered by M Nageshwar Rao, ex-interim director of the CBI, for going against its earlier order and held him and S Bhasu Ram, Director of Prosecution in the agency, guilty of contempt of court. The court fined them Rs 1 lakh each and although it could have sent them to jail for three months, just made them sit in a corner of the court till the end of the day’s proceedings.

Rao had, in contravention of the apex courts’ earlier order, transferred A K Sharma, the officer who was working on the Bihar shelter homes rape case. Although he later tendered an apology where he stated that "I sincerely realise my mistake and while tendering my unqualified and unconditional apology, I specially state I have not wilfully violated the order of this court as I cannot even dream of violating or circumventing order of this court." That it was not enough to placate the court was clear in the way CJI Ranjan Gogoi thundered “you have played with our orders. God help you." Justice Gogoi later said that he had punished someone for contempt of court for the first time in his long career.

To be fair to Rao, the transfer of Sharma happened as part of the overnight mass transfers that the government ordered as a tactic to defuse the unsavoury situation arising after the public feud between the former CBI chief Alok Verma and his former deputy Rakesh Asthana. Nageswar Rao himself had just been elevated to the top post on a temporary basis. But being an old hand in the agency, before affecting the mass transfers he should have identified officers whose transfers were expressly prohibited by the courts. In not doing so, he ran himself foul of the apex court orders.

The court, on its part, was absolutely correct in not showing leniency by accepting the apology and letting things pass. The way institutions are being politicized and plaint officers are being made to carry out the executives’ bidding, if the courts are not strict when laws are broken or if orders are violated or circumvented, then there will be total chaos and the ruling dispensation will do much as it pleases with scant regard for the law. With this punishment (and the related black marks in the career records of the officers), a forceful signal will go down the bureaucracy that no one can play with court orders.