BENGALURU: Coming down heavily on the Karnataka government for repeatedly being in contempt of court by not obeying its orders, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered it to reinstate previous engineer-member H R Shantharajanna to the post within a day.
Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna issued the directive to State Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadagi during a hearing on the ongoing case between the Bangalore Development Authority and the State of Karnataka and others.
The court took serious note of the fact that despite directing the State Government to reinstate the official during its September 7 hearing, it had not been done. “A false affidavit has been presented to us ... the action is contemptuous,” the bench said, adding that the state had already committed contempt of court thrice. The court initially wanted the Chief Secretary and the DAPR Secretary to be present for the next hearing, but finally did not insist on it.
On August 31, the DPAR issued orders transferring Shantharajanna, and replacing him with V Govindaraju, Chief Engineer (CE) of National Highways. Shantharajanna was posted as CE for the Hemavati Project Zone in Gorur, Hassan district. This was in violation of the August 19 SC order which barred the transfer of any official associated with the formation of the Dr Shivaram Karanth Layout in Bengaluru, the court pointed out.
Following the SC order on September 7, the state cancelled Shantharajanna’s transfer to the Hemavati project, but did not reinstate him as engineer-member. It created a new post called CE of Dr Shivaram Karanth Layout and posted him there last week.
The court took serious offence on three counts — Suppression of the creation of a new post and transferring the engineer-member to it, cancelling the transfer of the engineer-member to Hemavathi project, but not cancelling the transfer of Govindaraju as engineer-member, BDA, and not cancelling the order posting Shantharajanna as CE for the layout.
Hold BDA board meets regularly: Apex Court
The BDA was also at the receiving end for not holding board meetings regularly. Many important issues, including the Peripheral Ring Road project, need to be taken up for discussion during the meeting, it said while asking the Commissioner to ensure it is held regularly. The last board meeting was cancelled by BDA Chairman S R Vishwanath at the last minute.