By Ram Kumar Kaushik
Seldom had Pradeep Yadav, a 1992 batch IAS officer thought that after travelling thousands of kms from his native village in Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu for the most coveted administrative job, he would get a sentence for two-week jail. That too for a trivial case which dates back to 2012.
The Madurai bench of Madras High Court sentenced senior Yadav two weeks of simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1000 for failing to comply with a 2012 order of the court. Yadav, who is currently serving as additional chief secretary in the highways and minor ports department, was the school education secretary at that time. Along with him, the court has punished two more officials – the then director of teacher education research and training in Chennai, Muthupalanichamy and the then principal of Tirunelveli district institute of Education and training Boobala Anto.
What Court said?
The court has directed the three officials to surrender before the registrar (judicial) of the Bench by August 9, for taking further action in accordance with the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, and other rules.
Justice Battu Devanand passed the order in a contempt petition filed by P Gnana Pragasam (74) to punish the officials for their deliberate and willful disobedience of the court order passed in December 2012.
“If any lenient view is taken against such type of officers, who are not implementing court orders, years together, and implementing the orders only after directing their appearance before the court, it will send a wrong message to such type of government officers,” the court said.
The petitioner, Gnana Pragasam, was employed as a sweeper-cum-gardener in a teacher training institute in Palayapettai. After putting in a total service of 40 years and five months, he retired on June 30, 2006. Pravasam remained an adhoc employee despite the state government's clear order issued in 1971 that states that all contingent employees who had put in five years of service should be regularised. Pragasam ran from pillar to post for regularisation of services and finally six years after retirement from services in 2012 he won the case in the court which directed the government to extend monetary benefits to him by passing suitable orders within a period of eight weeks. The case was won in the court not on the ground. The petitioner struggled hard to get the court order implemented. But even after the elapse of 8 years, when the order was not implemented, he moved the contempt petition in 2020.
The court said that respondents (Pradeep Yadav and other two officials) had not regularised the service immediately. The court said it had no hesitation in holding that the respondents did not comply with the order in true letter and spirit till July 20, 2023.
Court refused to accept apology
The senior counsel, appearing for the respondents, submitted that they have tendered their unconditional apology for the delay. The court declined to accept the apology, in view of the facts of the case and by observing the conduct of the respondents.
Who is Pradeep Yadav?
Pradeep Yadav has his roots in Uttar Pradesh. He had been on central deputation from 2008-2016. During the deputation he had opportunity serve in home affairs and pharmaceuticals departments. During that stint he had also served as private secretary of the then liser minister M K Alagiri.
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