‘Bureaucrats in AP think that they are above Law’: HC

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On Wednesday, the Andhra Pradesh High Court made serious observations over the functioning of bureaucrats in the state. Hearing a contempt petition for failing to implement the orders of the high court, the HC said that 90% of the officials in the state of Andhra Pradesh are under the impression that they are above the law and do not need to implement the orders of the courts.

The high court issued Non-Bailable Warrants (NBW) against Arjun Rao, the commissioner of endowments, MM Naik, special commissioner for college education, David Kumar, regional joint director of college education and Rammohan Rao, executive officer of Kandukuri Rajyalaksmi College for Women (KRCW) for failing to implement the order of the high court.

One RV Papa Rao, working as an attender in KRCW, moved high court in the year 2017 seeking for directions to implement Supreme Court order with regard to payment of salary according to time scale. The high court in the year 2018 allowed the petition directing the concerned officials to pay the salary according to the apex court order.

As the high court order was not implemented, he moved a contempt petition. The high court had earlier issued notices for personal appearance of the officials. However, the officials did not appear before the court even after receiving the notices. Hearing the petition on Wednesday, Justice Battu Devanand took a serious note of the issue.

He observed that “it seems the officials in the state are thinking that they are above the law and do not need to follow the court orders”.

The counsel for one of the petitioners filed an application for dispense with appearance as he was affected with Covid-19. However, the high court expressed displeasure with the application as it was not mentioned when he was affected with Covid-19 and what was his present condition.

Justice Devanand said that it appears that the officials are least concerned with a poor employee working as an attender. “Officials should remember that the law applies to everyone equally and constitution protects the rights of every citizen of the country. The officials responsible have committed an offence by not implementing the court order for three years and they are liable for punishment,” he said.

Justice Devanand held respondent officer guilty and issued NBWs against them directing Vijayawada police commissioner and Rajamahendravaram urban SP to execute the warrants and present the officers before the court on February 15 to decide upon the punishment.

However, after the counsel for one of the respondent requested to reconsider the NBW as he is ready to appear before the court by afternoon. Justice Devanand allowed the request and will hear the matter again.

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