The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to explain by Wednesday as to "why and how" did its chief secretary fail to obey its order to appear before the Allahabad high court in a case of wrong invocation of the Gangsters Act against a man by Barabanki district magistrate and police.
The apex court was furious after senior counsel P S Patwalia submitted that Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani could not appear before the high court as he had gone abroad for medical treatment.
"Why you don't like Indian doctors? What is his medical condition? Find out. When the Supreme Court passes an order, is this the way you treat it? Explain why and how the chief secretary did not present himself before the high court in spite of our order," said a bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar in its order.
Though the counsel said the official had gone abroad on July 23 much before the apex court's order dated August 7, the bench was not inclined to entertain the plea and sought explanation by Wednesday.
The apex court had earlier castigated the UP chief secretary for failing to appear before the Allahabad high court saying "Your conduct is not at all correct. Why did you disobey the court order? We will not allow this.
"Your conduct has been very very bad. You may be the chief secretary, but you have to obey the law. You have to obey the law otherwise there will be no rule of law in this country," the bench had told senior counsel S R Singh appearing for the state.
Agreeing to abide by the direction, the counsel had assured the court that the chief secretary would comply with the high court's direction.
But despite the assurance, the official had failed to appear before the high court and incurred the wrath of the bench.
The high court on July 3 had passed severe strictures against the Barabanki district magistrate and other officials while dealing with the bail plea of one Dinesh Lonia who had also challenged the state's decision to invoke the UP Gangster and Anti Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986 against him.
It had also directed the chief secretary to probe into the conduct of Barabanki district magistrate and submit a report to it within a month, failing which it had said the top civil servant will have to appear before it.
While directing action against the officials concerned, the high court had also ordered payment of compensation to the victim, stipulating that the amount should be recovered from the erring officials.
"The judicial process should not be an instrument of oppression or needless harassment. There lies responsibility and duty on the magistracy to find whether the concerned accused should be legally responsible for the offence charged," the high court had said.
"The chief secretary, government of UP is required to hold an inquiry against the erring district magistrate and inform about the outcome of the inquiry, including the action taken report, to this court within 30 days from the receipt of this order positively, failing which the chief secretary, government of UP shall have to appear, in person, to explain the circumstances.
"The order includes grant of compensation to the victim which may be paid out of state expenses but which shall definitely be recovered from the erring official," the high court had said.
Aggrieved by the high court direction, the state had come to the apex court, which had told it go back to the high court itself.