SC convicts Bihar's ex-chief secretary for contempt of court

Former Bihar Chief Secretary Gurminder Singh Kang has been held guilty of contempt of court by the Supreme Court for not complying with a Patna High Court direction but was let off with 'stern warning' and a fine of Rs 2,000.

A bench of justices T S Thakur and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla showed leniency to the retired bureaucrat considering his old age and set aside two months jail term, awarded to him by the high court.

"We hold that the orders impugned in the appeal in having concluded that he committed contempt of high court's order does not call for interference. We, however, take into account the age of the appellant as well as the remorse conduct now displayed before us, we are of the view that the simple imprisonment of two months alone need not be retained," the bench said.

The bench also expressed displeasure that court's orders are not being followed by government officers.

"Of late, we come across several such instances, where high level officers of the administration display scant regard for the orders of the court and always come forward with lame excuses," the bench said.

The court passed the order on an appeal by Kang against the high court's order sentencing him to 2 months in jail for not implementing its order during his tenure as Commissioner, Food and Supplies and Commerce.

The high court had on March 22, 2004 convicted him of committing contempt of court for not cancelling promotion of a government employee in 1995.

Upholding the high court's order of conviction, the apex court said "orders and judgements of the court are meant to be obeyed and not to be disobeyed, with impunity."

"We impose a stern warning to be recorded as against the appellant apart from confirming the imposition of fine of Rs 2000 to be paid as per the order of the learned judge impugned in this appeal," the bench said.

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