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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Hold judicial institutions in high esteem; remark on contempt of court taken out of context: Biplab Deb

"I have not told the officers or even remotely intended to convey any message to disregard courts," said Biplab Deb.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
Updated: September 27, 2021 9:42:58 pm
Biplab DebTripura CM Biplab Deb (file photo)

Days after he asked civil service officials and executives to work for the people without “worrying about contempt of court”, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said his speech was taken out of context and said he holds all judicial institutions in the “highest esteem”.

“The reporting of my speech on 25/9/21 is being twisted and wrongly reported to some print and electronic media to project disregard to the judiciary and judicial institutions. I firmly and unequivocally clarify that I hold all the judicial institutions in highest esteem and also am duty bound to uphold the majesty of judiciary,” Deb wrote on his official Facebook page.

He added, “I have not told the officers or even remotely intended to convey any message to disregard courts or disrespect court orders as reported. My words have been published out of context.”

Meanwhile, RTI activist Saket Gokhale, who recently joined Trinamool Congress, on Monday wrote to Tripura Advocate General Siddhartha Shankar Dey, requesting him to initiate proceedings in the High Court of Tripura against the CM for his comments, claiming they were “scandalous” and aimed at “lowering the authority of the judiciary”.

Gokhale reasoned that the CM undermined the judiciary by saying he would order the police to disobey orders of the judiciary if required.

“No person, including the Chief Minister of a state, is above the law. The orders of the judiciary apply to every person equally and the publicly stated intention of the accused, who is also the Chief Minister of Tripura, to defy the orders of the judiciary is a direct attack on the justice system,” Gokhale wrote in his letter.

While no proceeding was taken up against the CM till latest reports came in, the advocate general was not available for his comments on the issue.

The CM’s comments came at the 26th biennial conference of the Tripura Civil Service Officers’ Association at Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhawan here on Saturday.

In the video which went viral on social media, Deb is heard saying, “I want to tell you, don’t do these things to me…(I hear officials say) ‘Sir, there will be problems with the system’. What problems will happen? (They say,) ‘Sir, we can’t take risk, there will be contempt of court’…Who has gone to jail in Tripura for contempt of court? I am here. If you go, I shall go before you…It’s not that easy to take you to jail. In order to go to jail, the police are needed. The Chief Minister is in charge of the police. They can’t send someone to jail just like that.”

In his speech, Deb defended his comments saying holding back promotions of public servants for a pending court issue is not fair since “injustice” would be done to the retiring employees.

“….Cabinet decision can be done to do it. We shall do their promotion. How many days shall we make them wait? They go to retirement and injustice is being done to them. They (officials) say contempt of court will be committed. Contempt seems like a tiger is sitting somewhere. I am the tiger. Power is with the person who is the main person running the government. The means all power is with the people. We are a by-the-people government, not by-the-court government,” he said.

Deb had also asked officials to work with “niyat, neeti and niyam” (well intention, principle and regulations).

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