A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A Rajasheker Reddy was hearing the criminal contempt case referred to them by Justice T Vinod Kumar who, while hearing a writ petition filed by a resident of Siddipet in the first week of November, felt that Reddy’s action and remarks were contemptuous.
According to the writ petition before the single judge, then Siddipet collector Venkatrama Reddy held a meeting on October 26 with agriculture officers and seed dealers. Reddy’s language turned stern while addressing seed dealers. “Do not sell paddy seeds to farmers. If you sell, your licence will be cancelled. Even if you secure stay orders from the high court and Supreme Court, I will not implement them,” the writ petition said highlighting essence of Reddy’s warnings. The single judge observed that the collector was forgetting that he too may have to knock on the doors of the HC for justice one day.
“He should not have displayed such scant regard towards courts,” the single judge said while concluding that his remarks prima facie constituted a criminal contempt case. As a single judge is not empowered to initiate a criminal contempt case, he referred the matter to the registry with a request to place it before the Chief Justice.
When matter came up before the CJ bench on Tuesday, advocate general BS Prasad urged court to give them an opportunity to explain their case. “We sought the same before the single judge, but it was not allowed. The collector would have tendered an unconditional apology to the court at that time itself after explaining his case from the right perspective. We will do the same before this court now,” he said. Bench gave him four weeks to do so.