Contempt proceedings against Jagan govt over party colours on govt buildings?

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The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday ordered contempt proceedings against the state government for violating its directive to remove the party colours on the government buildings and panchayat offices.

The contempt proceedings come in the wake of the Jagan government issuing GO 623 which cleverly tried to circumvent the HC’s directive to remove the YSRCP colours on the government buildings. Suspending the GO 623, the High Court had directed the state government to remove the party colours on government buildings and panchyat offices. Instead of removing the party colours on the government buildings, the Jagan sarkar had added one more colour – Terracotta (mud colour signifying earth) to the existing three colours. In the said GO, the YSRCP ruling gave a new meaning to the colours. The government argued that Green symbolizes green revolution (agriculture), Blue colour for blue revolution (water resources and acqua wealth), White colour for white revolution (milk and milk products).

Hearing a petition filed by advocate Somayajulu challenging the GO 623 on Friday, the High Court observed that the state government was trying to undermine the court’s directive by trying to circumvent its order by adding one more colour to the existing three colours and therefore amounted to contempt of court. The High Court reportedly issued contempt notices against Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) Gopalakrishna Dwivedi. The High Court directed the AG to file a counter affidavit by May 28.

Earlier, a petition filed by Muppa Venkateswara Rao challenging the state government move to paint the government buildings with party colours and pleaded the the High Court to direct the state government to remove the colours as it could influence voters during the civic body elections.

Last month, the High Court had noted that the manner in which entire the issue is being dealt with by the state government compels the court to think and observe that the state government was not removing the colours associated with the ruling YSRCP, from the walls of panchayat offices and other government buildings with an eye on the elections to civic bodies. The advocate general sought three months time and informed the High Court that the colours can be removed only once the lockdown is completely lifted and that the government will inform the court time needed to remove the party colours in the next hearing. Refusing to give three months time, the HC pulled up the government for dragging its feet on the issue. “We will give three months time with a condition that the state government will not hold elections till that time,” the High Court observed.

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