The Telangana High Court on Wednesday expressed surprise over the state government sanctioning Rs 60 crore to fight contempt of court cases pending against state bureaucrats including Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
Passing interim orders, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vijaysen Reddy directed the state government not to release the money.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a lecturer against the government’s financial assistance to meet the legal expenses to fight contempt cases filed predominantly against Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA), a post held by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
The court questioned how the government would spend the taxpayers’ money. It wanted to know what are the treasury norms and if they allow this financial assistance.
The High Court served notices to secretaries of finance and revenue departments, directors of treasury, CCLA and to Somesh Kumar in his personal capacity.
The court adjourned the hearing till October 27.
The chief secretary had on June 7 issued a Government Order (GO) sanctioning Rs 58,95,63,000 towards contempt cases pending in the High Court.
More than 250 contempt cases are reportedly pending against the bureaucrats.
The PIL has come up for hearing close on the heels of the High Court taking serious view of willful disobedience by bureaucrats. In some cases, court imposed fine on district collectors and sentenced few others to imprisonment.