In further embarrassment to the Mayawati government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed initiation of contempt proceedings against the U P Chief Secretary for "flagrant" violation of its orders to stop construction work of statues and memorials in Lucknow.
The court also warned that Central forces can be deployed at the sites if such work continued.
A bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal and Aftab Alam wondered at one stage whether the Chief Secretary can be sent to jail if the construction work is not stopped.
"We have come to the conclusion that there is a flagrant violation of our orders. If you still violate our orders, the ball will be in the hands of the central government" to deploy forces, the apex court observed.
The court issued notice to Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta to showcause why contempt action should not be taken against him for violation of the court order and asked him to personally appear in court on November four.
The court had yesterday rebuked the state government asking it not to play politics with the court and said violation of its order to stop work on memorials estimated to cost a whopping Rs.2,600 crore seems to have been carried out on instructions from the "highest level".
"Having heard the counsel for the parties perusing the affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary of UP and others and having given anxious considerations to all of them, a strong prima facie case is made out for initiating contempt proceedings," the bench observed.
The Bench directed the Supreme Court registry to register a contempt petition in the matter. It asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to appear in the matter and assist it as an amicus curaie.
The court initiated the contempt proceedings on the ground that the September 8 undertaking given by the Chief Secretary and September 11 order of the apex court on stoppage of construction activities at the sites have been flouted.
The court's observation on deployment of Central forces were made in the context of sustained pleas by the petitioner Mithilesh Kumar that paramilitary forces like CRPF or CISF should be used at the sites as the local police cannot act in an impartial manner.
At one stage the court also asked the senior counsel Abhishek Singh Manu as to whether it should send the Chief Secretary to the jail.
"We can send the Chief Secretary to the jail if repeatedly our orders are violated. What do we do. Can we send him to jail," the apex court queried.
Later, the Bench passed an order that its September 11 interim order restraining further constructions would be made absolute. PTI