The Supreme Court Monday said the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal over reported demolition of an illegal religious structure in Noida did not amount to contempt of court by the Uttar Pradesh government.
A Bench led by Justice H L Dattu clarified that question of contempt could arise only if the state government had restrained her or any other officer from taking action against the illegal structure since the Supreme Court had earlier ordered for puling down all such encroachments.
How does it amount to contempt of court? If the state government said no officer would demolish illegal structures,it would amount to contempt but if the state government took some action against its officer,it would not amount to contempt but something else, said the Bench.
Dismissing a petition that sought to initiate contempt proceedings against the UP government and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for suspending Nagpal,the court said it was for the officer to justify her stand if the state government opted to take action against her.
The Bench also said the contempt petition had been filed too early since the state government was yet to take a final decision on the chargesheet issued to her. It observed that the stage of contempt would only arise after the officer files response to the chargesheet and the state government takes a final decision.
The petition,filed by advocate M L Sharma,had also named Chief Secretary Javed Usmani,working Chief Secretary Aalok Ranjan and the Centre as respondents.
It contended that action against 28-year-old Nagpal was in contempt of the apex court order on preventing unauthorised construction of religious structures on public land. Following the Supreme Court direction is not an offence that has been performed by the officer concerned, it stated.