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Supreme Court slaps fine of Rs 1 lakh on I&B Ministry over non-compliance of court orders in contempt proceedings

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The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for not following its September 26, 2018 order to provide all benefits of service to departmental candidates and also consider their cases for promotions in accordance with the Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service Rules, 1990.

The Division Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah on August 16 expressed its displeasure over the Ministry’s affidavit in the case and blamed the authorities for failing to grant promotional benefits to the petitioner.

“The judgment of the Tribunal was delivered on November 8, 2000. There was no stay of the decision of the Tribunal or of the High Court affirming it. Consequently, it is the failure of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to implement the binding judgments of the Tribunal and the High Court and eventually of this Court that has led to the present situation. There is a clear non-compliance with the directions of this Court,” the Court observed.

Since the Ministry failed to take any step, contempt proceedings were initiated against it, which were disposed of on the assurance of ASG Vikramjit Banerjee, who appeared on behalf of the I&B Ministry, it added.

The top court of the country had disposed of the contempt proceedings for non-compliance of its September 26, 2018 order on November 29, 2019, after ASG Vikramjit Banerjee assured to consider “three Senior Time Scale officers for promotion to Junior Administrative Grade of Programme Management Cadre of IB(P)S in the Directorate General of Doordarshan for the years 2003-04 to 2007-08”.

While directing the fine to be paid over to the National Legal Services Authority within four weeks to be recovered from the officers responsible for compliance, the Supreme Court also directed to pay the petitioner actual benefits including arrears of salary with effect from the date on which upgradation or promotion was granted to him within a period of one month from the date of order with interest at the rate of 6 percent per annum on the arrears of salary.

The bench passed the order on a petition filed by a departmental candidate, who while continuing in service, moved the Court for the revival of contempt proceedings with the grievance that the Ministry had not complied with the SC order of September 26, 2018.

The Union government was represented by Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, while Senior Counsel KK Rai appeared for the petitioner.

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