VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday cancelled GO 623 issued in April by the government modifying its earlier order for painting government offices, particularly village panchayat offices, adding an additional colour brown.
Taking serious note of the development, a division Bench of Chief Justice JK Maheswari and Justice N Jayasurya deemed it contempt of court. The Bench said it has taken up the issue suo motu and is registering a contempt of court case against the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) and Panchayat Raj Commissioner.
Making it clear that adding an additional colour to the three colours, which the court in its earlier order had asked to be replaced, is not acceptable, the Bench stressed that colours representing political parties should not be painted on government offices. “In case, the court orders are not followed and the colours not replaced by the next hearing on May 28, the three officers — Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) and Panchayat Raj commissioner — have to appear before the court in person,” the Bench ruled. The Supreme Court has also supported the High Court order, the Bench reminded the government counsel.
After the court had cancelled the earlier GO issued by the government to paint government offices in three colours, which represent the YSRC, the State government issued another order — GO 623. Following it, Suryadevara Venkata Rao of Angalakuduru village near Tenali in Guntur district approached the High Court, challenging the same.
During the arguments, advocates representing the government said the four colours represent agriculture and allied sectors, but the court did not agree with the argument and observed that any political party when in power wants to have the office buildings painted in its party colours. It is not acceptable. In the earlier verdict, the same was clearly stated, but the government did not heed the directions and just added one more colour to show that it is following the order. It further observed that the Supreme Court and High Court directions were disregarded, which has to be seen as contempt of court.
The officials have time till May 28 to correct the lapse and replace the colours, if not, the three officers have to appear before the court in person, the court said. It made it clear that the petitioner is eligible for `10,000 as court expenses.