The Madras High Court has said there is a disturbing trend among public servants of obeying court orders only after it issued notice for their appearance.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Satish K.Agnihotri and K.K.Sasidharan made the observation while treating as closed a contempt petition filed by a woman. The authorities issued an order appointing her as a Sub-Inspector of Police nearly a year after the court order.

A.Baby Uma was provisionally selected as a Sub-Inspector; but she was not given the appointment order. It was then her court battle began. The Director-General of Police said she was denied appointment as a discreet enquiry revealed that her conduct was not satisfactory. She challenged this order. Even though a single Judge set aside the DGP’s order, relief was denied stating that the selection had become final. This was taken up before a Division Bench which in its judgment of November 26, 2012 directed the DGP to issue the appointment order by December 2012 and depute her for training immediately.

Since that order was not complied with, she filed the present contempt petition. In December last year, the government submitted that the petitioner would be given appointment shortly. After the court directed the authorities to report compliance, the DGP passed an order on December 18, 2013 appointing the petitioner as SI and deputed her for training.

The court observed that though the authorities had complied with the court order, the fact remained that this was nearly an year after the date prescribed by the Bench.

The Bench made it clear that compliance of the court order after the prescribed period or after initiating contempt proceedings would not automatically absolve the contemnors from contempt proceedings. Each case should be decided on its own facts and circumstances considering the peculiar background facts.

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