‘Venkatrami Reddy’s comments on seed-sellers attract Contempt of Court provisions’
Former IAS officer and newly-elected MLC P. Venkatrami Reddy would tender an unconditional written apology over his remarks on High Court and Supreme Court orders, Advocate General B.S. Prasad told the Telangana High Court on Tuesday.
Appearing for the State before a Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A. Rajasheker Reddy, the AG said that the written apology would be placed before the Bench. Mr. Reddy, who served as Medak District Collector for long, resigned from government service.
Within two days of his resignation, ruling TRS supremo and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao fielded him as candidate for MLC post along with five others, all of whom got elected unanimously. A few weeks before his resignation during his sting as Collector, Mr. Reddy warned seed-sellers against selling paddy seeds to farmers as the State government decided to discourage paddy cultivation.
In an open meeting with fertilizer shop owners and seed-selling agents, he allegedly stated that licences of persons selling paddy seed would be cancelled and they would not be revoked even if they get orders from the High Court or Supreme Court. A farmer, Bathula Narayana from Imambad village of the district, moved the HC questioning the remarks made by Mr. Reddy.
Justice T. Vinod Kumar, who took a serious view of the Collector’s remarks, instructed the Registry to place the writ petition before the Chief Justice Bench as the comments would attract provisions of Contempt of Court Act. The contempt of case petition arising out of the writ petition was heard by the Division Bench headed by the CJ.
On hearing content of the petition, the Bench passed an order issuing notice to the former bureaucrat and instructed him to reply within four weeks. When the AG presented his contention, the CJ sought to know if the former officer tendered any apology for making comments showing disregard to HC and SC orders.
“He should have apologised,” the CJ observed. The AG explained that the officer was ready to tender an apology when the writ petition came up for hearing before the single judge. A written unconditional apology would be placed before the Bench, he assured.
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