The Andhra Pradesh High Court has awarded four weeks of imprisonment to former Commissioner of School Education V Chinna Veerabhadrudu, holding him guilty of contempt of court on May 3, Tuesday. The retired IAS officer was also fined Rs 2,000 for disobeying the courtâ€™s interim order passed in March 2021, allowing a few employees of the Education Department to pursue a B P Ed degree (Bachelor of Physical Education) while setting aside a memo issued by Veerabhadrudu against the same.
The case is related to an earlier plea filed in the High Court by four individuals from Vizianagaram district. According to Eenadu, the petitioners are Secondary Grade Teachers (SGT) who wished to pursue a B P Ed degree, in order to qualify for promotion as School Assistant (Physical Education). They had asked for the period of study with pay, as per Government Order (GO) 342 issued in 1977, which says employees from Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes can pursue higher education to obtain higher qualifications which are prerequisites to further their career.
However, Veerabhadrudu has reportedly issued a memo in January 2021 dismissing the petitionersâ€™ request to pursue B P Ed. This was challenged in the High Court, which had passed an interim order on March 8, 2021, asking the Education Department to consider the petitionersâ€™ request and suspending the memo which dismissed it.
With officials failing to implement the interim order in time, the petitioners filed a contempt of court plea in the High Court. According to the Times of India, the High Court observed that there had been wilful disobedience of the courtâ€™s interim order and found Veerabhadrudu guilty of contempt of court. However, according to Eenadu, the sentence has been kept in abeyance for two weeks.
Earlier in April too, Veerabhadrudu, along with seven other senior IAS officers, were sentenced to two weeks of imprisonment by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in a contempt of court case. However, the punishment was remitted after they tendered an unconditional apology. The judge had instead asked the eight IAS officers to undertake social work by visiting welfare hostels once a month for a year, where they were expected to spend time with students and motivate them, and also arrange a meal at their own expense. A few weeks later, however, the social work order had also been suspended for eight weeks as on April 28, with the case being posted for the next hearing in two months.