Speaker earns HC’s ire

Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, November 9
The judiciary and the legislature are on a collision course, so it seems. Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker has allegedly defied an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing the maintenance of status quo in an under-secretary’s service matter.

Taking exception, the High Court has minced no words to say that it saw a deliberate attempt to defy the orders. The Bench has warned of contempt proceedings in the matter. The standoff came on a petition filed by Ramesh Chand against the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and three other respondents.

In his application placed before the Bench of Justice Permod Kohli, Chand has sought directions for staying an order by the Superintendent in the Vidhan Sabha secretariat’s (establishment branch) dated November 2. Chand has claimed that the under-secretary’s charge, vide the order, has been taken back from him in “gross violation of the status quo order dated October 13”. Justice Kohli observed: “It is alleged in the application that the order of status quo was duly communicated to the Secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha. From the order dated November 2, it also appears that the Speaker was apprised of the order passed by this court and despite that a direction has been issued that the order of the High Court will be taken into consideration after the decision of the LPA (letters patent appeal)”.

Justice Kohli added: “This clearly demonstrates a deliberate attempt on the part of the Speaker to defy the order of this court with impunity without resorting to any legal remedy. A duty was cast upon the Secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, to apprise the Speaker regarding the direction of the court”.

Issuing a notice on the application, the Bench added: “We take exception to the manner in which disrespect has been shown to the rule of the law. Before initiating any further proceedings, including contempt, we direct the state counsel to seek instructions and ensure that the dignity of the court and the majesty of law is maintained”.

Before parting with the order, the Bench asserted: “We hope that the order of status quo passed by this court shall be respected by the concerned”. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 16.

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