A day after it warned the Mayawati government not to play politics with the court,the Supreme Court today directed initiation of contempt proceedings against the Uttar Pradesh administration and issued notice to the Chief Secretary for flagrant violation of court orders to stop work on construction of statues and memorials.
It even warned the state that Central forces could be deployed at the sites if work were to continue. At one stage,the bench of Justices B N Agrawal and Aftab Alam wondered whether the Chief Secretary could be sent to jail.
It appears you want to play hide and seek… It shows your desperation not to allow the court to adjudicate the matter… We have come to the conclusion that there is flagrant violation of our orders. If you still violate our orders,the ball will be in the hands of the Central government to deploy forces,the bench remarked.
The bench issued notice to Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta to show cause why contempt action should not be taken against him for violation of the court order. He was directed to appear in person in court on November 4.
The way you are behaving,is it a democratic government? the bench asked senior advocate Harish Salve who was representing the UP government along with senior counsel and Mayawati aide S C Mishra.
The bench directed the Supreme Court registry to register a contempt petition in the matter. It asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to appear in the matter and assist it as an amicus curiae.
At one stage,the bench asked senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi,who was representing petitioner Mithilesh Kumar Singh,whether it could send the Chief Secretary to jail. What do we do? Can we send him to jail? the judges asked.
Within hours of the court direction for initiation of contempt proceedings,work on three structures Pyramid,Pratibimb and Samajik Parivartan Sangrahalaya at the Ambedkar Memorial in Gomti Nagar of Lucknow came to a halt. Work also stopped at Kanshiram Sanskritik Sthal in Ashiana.
After the court order on September 11,construction work stopped at all memorials. But on September 20,work resumed at Sangrahalaya,Pyramid and Pratibimb after the government claimed that no petition regarding these structures was pending in court.
This afternoon,over 2,000 labourers working on the three structures were told to vacate the premises with their belongings. All gates were closed. The contractor asked us to stop work and leave immediately. I am returning home, said Narain Singh,a mason from Bharatpur in Rajasthan.