The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday suspended the order of a single judge in which three IAS officers, including one retired official, were sentenced to jail holding them guilty of contempt for "wilful disobedience", while two others were directed to pay fine.
According to The Hindu, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice N Jayasurya placed the single judgeâ€™s order in suspension after concluding that there was no wilful disobedience on the part of the officials.
The contempt proceedings were initiated against the officers in a 2017 case filed by T Savitramma, whose three acres of land in Erragunta, Venkatachalam mandal in Nellore district was taken over for establishing a regional centre of the National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped. Following this, she approached the court over the land acquisition and the delay in the payment. The High Court had then asked the officials concerned to pay the compensation amount. However, as there was a delay in payment of the compensation, Savitramma had filed a contempt petition, The New Indian Express reported.
On September 2, Justice B Devanand, who heard the case, held IAS officers -- Principal Finance Secretary Shamsher Singh Rawat, Chief Minister's Additional Secretary Revu Mutyala Raju, Nellore district Collector KVN Chakradhara Babu and former Collector MV Seshagiri Babu -- guilty of contempt.
Mutyala Raju who previously served as Collector of Nellore district and retired IAS officer Manmohan Singh, the then Principal Secretary (Revenue) was also convicted. Manmohan Singh was sentenced four weeksâ€™ of imprisonment and imposed with a fine of Rs 1,000. Principal secretary (finance) S S Rawat got one month jail and Rs 2,000 fine, while former Nellore district collector R Muthyala Raju was given two- week jail and Rs 1,000 fine. MV Seshagiri Babu and the present collector NV Chakradhar were fined.
During Thursdayâ€™s hearing, appearing for the State, special government pleader C Sumon said there the officials did not deliberately violate the court order and said that the process to implement the order was underway. The pleader said that there was a delay due to certain administrative difficulties. He told the court that the officers had been following the matter.