HC justice m s ramesh sir pulls up finance dept official for contempt of court
HC pulls up finance dept official for contempt of court
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by S Dhanalakshmi, who was working as BT Assistant in a corporation middle school in Madurai and is covered under the new health insurance scheme. The petitioner had undergone surgery in February 2018 and paid Rs 1,22,454 towards medical expenses.
The district-level empowered committee sent a proposal in September 2019 to disburse the medical expenses to the petitioner. Since, the amount was not reimbursed, Dhanalakshmi moved the HC Madurai bench and the court in its order in November 2019, had directed the secretary to disburse the eligible amount as per the Tamil Nadu Medical Attendance Rules.
Since the earlier order was not complied with, the petitioner filed the present contempt petition.
Justice M S Ramesh said that in order to give an opportunity to the contemnor, the court had directed the government advocate to get instructions by an order during March 2020. Thereafter, the contempt petition was adjourned on seven occasions. Ultimately, when the matter was listed on January 7, 2021, it was submitted that the authorities had not chosen to instruct the government pleader’s office.
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The judge said that the court has issued statutory notice for the secretary’s personal appearance on February 18. However, the secretary did not appear before the court. On the other hand, the additional government pleader produced a copy of GO dated January 19, 2021 and submitted that the earlier order of the court dated has been complied with.
The judge said that GO reads to the effect that the petitioner may not be entitled for the claim made by her on certain heads and had ultimately derived the eligible amount at Rs 2,570.
The judge observed that on a prima facie view, the contemnor has wilfully disobeyed the order on two counts – not complying with the statutory notice which was issued for his appearance, and not complying with the earlier order of this court and instead re-appraised and arriving at contrary conclusions with regard to the petitioner’s entitlement.
“All these callous and careless attitude in dealing with the order of the high court shows the utter disregard the contemnor has, to the sanctity of law,” observed the judge.
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The court was hearing a petition filed by A Mayirulan, who sought Tangedco to provide electricity service connection under tariff 3A1 to his agricultural land situated at Pattakulam Sallipatti village in Srivilliputhur taluk.
Justice G R Swaminathan said the petitioner initially wanted provision of electricity supply under the free scheme. When he approached the authorities, he was informed that he could as well apply under tariff 3A1. The petitioner accepted the said suggestion and applied on that basis.
The judge said that even though the petitioner was ready to comply with all the formalities, the authorities did not provide him the electricity supply connection. When the petitioner wanted to know the reason, he was informed that since the work of providing electricity supply would be difficult and tough, they were not in a position to take up the petitioner’s application for consideration. Questioning the same, the petitioner had approached the HC Madurai bench by filing this present petition.
“I must express my surprise over the stand taken by the then executive engineer. No governmental authority can decline to render service to the citizen by citing difficulties. In fact, we are expected to walk the extra mile, so that the citizens will be able to reap the benefits of the scheme announced by the government,” observed the judge.
The judge said that when the case was taken up for hearing, the standing counsel appearing for Tangedco informed the court that the present executive engineer is ready to do the needful, so as to redress the grievance of the petitioner. The judge said that the petitioner is also ready to comply with the usual formalities.
Recording the submissions, the judge gave the direction to Tangedco to complete the exercise within a period of 10 weeks and disposed of the petition.