Flagrant violation of undertaking given to Supreme Court to stop work at memorial sites in Lucknow

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Chief Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh government to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for flagrant violation of the undertaking given to the court and the order to stop construction of all work at the memorial sites in Lucknow.

A Bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice Aftab Alam in its brief order said: “Having heard counsel for the parties and perusing the affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh and others and having given anxious consideration to all of them, a strong prima facie case is made out for initiating contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary.”

The Bench, while issuing the contempt notice, directed Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta to be present in the court on November 4. The Bench asked Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam to assist the court as amicus curiae. Until further orders, the Bench made absolute the September 11 restraint order on further construction in the sites in question. The Bench directed the Supreme Court Registry to register a contempt petition in the matter.

When the hearing resumed, Justice Agrawal told senior counsel Harish Salve and senior counsel S.C. Mishra, appearing for the U.P. government, “It appears to us that you want to play hide and seek. If you want to have confrontation let us have confrontation. The way you are behaving, is it a democratic government.”

Justice Agrwal said, “Mr. Mishra gave an impression that the undertaking he gave was with regard to the entire project.”

Referring to the Chief Secretary’s affidavit, Justice Alam said, “It shows your desperation not to allow the court to adjudicate the matter.”

The Solicitor-General said that to some extent the petitioner had misrepresented the facts. However, the matter required to be gone into and facts were to be discovered.

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