Orissa High Court pardons apologetic contemners

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court on Friday remitted the punishment awarded to two IAS officers and a school inspector for wilful disobedience of court orders after the three tendered unconditional and unqualified apology to the Court.

State school and mass education secretary Aparajita Sarangi (IAS), Director of school education Srikant Prusty (IAS) and Cuttack circle school inspector Brundaban Satapathy were found guilty on charges of contempt of court and the High Court earlier this week had slapped a fine of Rs 1000 on each.

In the event of nonpayment of fine, the officials were asked to undergo imprisonment for seven days, a Division Bench of Justices B P Das and B K Mishra had said in its order.

However, all the three officers appeared before the Court and tendered their apology informing the Court that the 2009 order of the Court pertaining to an assistant teacher, Swarnalata Dei, has been complied with in the meantime.

The matter pertains to appointment and regularization of service of Swarnalta who had joined as an assistant teacher in Padmanabh Girls` School of Dahijanga in Cuttack district in January 1992. But the State government regularized her service only in 1999 refusing to recognize her service for seven years from 1992.

The teacher moved the HC after her representations to the government were turned down. The HC in August 2009 had directed the State government to consider her appointment as antedated from 1992 and give her all consequential benefits since then.

When the government did not act accordingly, she filed a contempt of court petition against the erring officials. The HC on May 16 had held the officials guilty and punished them for disobeying the court order.

However, exercising its inherent power guaranteed under Article 215 of the Constitution and section 12 (2) of Contempt of Court Act, the High Court remitted the punishment after the officials tendered apology.