M A I N   N E W S

Defiant Maya earns SC rap over statues
Court says Centre free to act if stay order flouted again
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent


u Takes note of defiance of restraint order on construction work on some memorials

u Issues show cause notice to Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta

New Delhi, October 6
The Supreme Court today said the Centre would be free to take action against the Uttar Pradesh government if the state continued to flout its stay on the construction of memorials in Lucknow, leaving much scope for interpretation that it could mean imposition of President’s Rule as well.

“We have come to the conclusion that there is flagrant violation of our orders. If you continue to violate, the ball will be in the hands of the Union government,” a Bench comprising Justices BN Agarwal and Aftab Alam observed during arguments by senior counsel Harish Salve, who appeared for the state.

In the order passed at the end of 90 minutes of resumed arguments today, the Bench issued notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta, asking him to show cause why contempt proceedings could not be initiated against him. The top official would have to be present in the court for the next hearing — on November 4. “The Supreme Court registry is directed to register a contempt case on this direction,” the Bench said in its order.

Making it clear that the state government had shown its “desperation” not to allow the court to adjudicate the matter, the Bench said construction work was going on “several projects” even after the restraint order was passed on September 11.

Asking Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to assist it in the case as amicus curiae, the court said its interim restraint order would now be treated as absolute. At one stage, the Bench wondered what action it could take against the Chief Secretary by raising a question, “Can we send him to jail?” The Bench, however, did not pass any order on the PIL petitioner's plea for deployment of central forces at the one square km memorial site, where 24 projects were coming up at a cost of Rs 2,600 crore.



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