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Don’t act the fool with us, CJI tells absentee Chief Secretaries

J. Venkatesan
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Arunachal, Gujarat and T.N. officials “have once again thought it fit to treat matter casually”

Altamas Kabir
Altamas Kabir

Taking a serious view of non-appearance of the Chief Secretaries of Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Tuesday summoned them to appear before it on February 19 for failure to respond to notice in a case of ‘missing children’.

On January 17, a three-judge Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir directed the personal appearance of the Chief Secretaries of these States and of Odisha and Goa.

During the resumed hearing at which only the Chief Secretaries of Odisha and Goa were present, the CJI, expressing his displeasure, told counsel for Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu: “You are playing [the] fool with the court. Nobody seems to be concerned about missing children. This is the irony.” The CJI said when there was a specific direction for them to appear, the Chief Secretaries “can’t say they are indisposed. They had to be present here. What do you think? We pass orders just for the sake of passing orders?”

The Bench, which included Justices Anil R. Dave and Vikramajit Sen, rejected the applications for their personal exemption. “In spite of our January 17 order, the three officials have once again thought it fit to treat the matter with extreme casualness as if the order passed by this court has no meaning.”

The Bench said the Chief Secretaries should appear in person and not through representatives.

“As far as other States are concerned, we are giving them last opportunity to file their status report.” The Bench was hearing a writ petition filed by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan complaining about children missing across the country. Senior counsel H. S. Phoolka said hundreds of children were going missing everyday and the States were insensitive to this issue.


  • Court rejects applications for personal exemption of Chief Secretaries

  • Nobody seems to be concerned about missing children: Altamas Kabir



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