The Kerala HC directed James Varghese, to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for cancelling a government order

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed James Varghese, Principal Secretary, Environment Department, to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for cancelling a government order censuring G. Jayaprakash, former chairman, State Pollution Control Board.

Justice Antony Dominic issued the show cause notice after the Principal Secretary was suo motu impleaded as a respondent in a petition filed by Mr. Jayaprakash. The petitioner sought a directive to allow him to continue as chairman in view of the annulment of the censure order by the government. He was censured for failing to give an inspection report regarding pollution caused by a crusher unit in Thrissur.

In its order, the court pointed out that a Division Bench had earlier dismissed his writ petition and appeals challenging the censure order. Although the petitioner filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court, leave was granted only on the limited question of correctness of the direction issued by the Bench requiring the respondents to register an FIR against the petitioner. In other words, the judgement of the Bench had attained finality, the court observed.

The court pointed out that in the meantime, the service of the petitioner as chairman of the board was terminated.

As a review petition filed by him against the termination order was not considered, he had moved the High Court. The High Court had then directed the government to reconsider the review petition.

The government later then revoked the termination order after allowing his review petition. The court observed that in the guise of considering the review petition, the correctness of the censure order was also considered and the punishment of censure cancelled.

In other words, the Principal Secretary cancelled the censure order which had been upheld by the High Court, the Judge observed.