Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta, who was asked to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him, has tendered an unqualified apology for any kind of disobedience or deviation which might have happened in implementing the Supreme Court order to stop construction at Lucknow memorial sites.
Mr. Gupta will appear in court when a Bench of Justices H.S. Bedi and J.M. Panchal hears the matter on Wednesday. (Justice B.N. Agrawal has since retired.)
In his fresh reply, Mr. Gupta said that in compliance with the September 8 undertaking, no construction was carried out at the sites “which are subject matter of the writ petitions pending before the Allahabad High Court that are being transferred to the Supreme court, except at Smriti Upvan where construction activity had been permitted by the Supreme Court on December 12, 2008.”
He said the construction of Samajik Parivartan Sangrahalay (Stupa) at the site of the erstwhile Ambedkar Stadium and Pratibimb Sthal and Pyramid (Drishya Sthal) on the land handed back by the Sahara Welfare Foundation to the Lucknow Development Authority on November 14, 2007, after the writ petitions were filed in the High Court, was being carried out. For, the two pieces of land were not the subject matter of any petition pending in the High Court.
The affidavit said: “The deponent/State government could not even think of committing contempt of the orders passed by the Supreme Court as recorded in the orders dated September 8 and 11. The construction, maintenance and repair work carried out at the different sites were out of the ambit of any interim order passed by the court.”
Referring to the stories published by The Times of India on September 10 and by The Hindu on September 11 with photographs of Smirti Upvan, Mr. Gupta said the construction was permitted by the Supreme Court, and the reporters who filed the reports (that construction was going on despite the restraint order) did not have sufficient time to verify the correctness of their account in respect of the various orders.
But, “I tender my sincere and unqualified apology for any kind of disobedience or deviation, aberration or misconstruction, if any, which might have happened in implementing the orders passed by this court. Disobedience or deviation, if any, was inadvertent.”
By an application, the State government sought to get the stay vacated on construction activity, arguing that in view of the interim orders it became impossible for it to carry out even repairs to and maintenance of various properties, “which are the subject matter of nine writ petitions.” As these sthals were dedicated to the nation and thrown open to the public, it was necessary to carry out repairs from time to time.