Annoyed by “flagrant violation” of its order stopping all construction at 24 Dalit memorials in Lucknow, the Supreme Court on Tuesday initiated contempt proceedings against UP Chief Secretary Atul Kumar Gupta.
“There is flagrant violation of our orders. If you still violate our orders, the ball will be in the hands of the central government,” the court said.
But constitutional expert Rajiv Dhavan said: “The court can’t order dismissal of a state government (central forces can be deployed only in such a case).”
The SC directed Gupta to appear before it in person on November 4 to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt.
“We can send the chief secretary to jail if our orders are violated repeatedly,” it said.
Gupta had on September 8 given an undertaking to the SC that the state would stop the construction of statues of Dalit leaders B.R. Ambedkar, Kanshiram, Mayawati and the elephant — the Bahujan Samaj Party symbol. But, on September 11, the SC — on the basis of media reports that work continued — had banned construction.
In Lucknow, there was speculation that Gupta may be removed. But an officer in the chief minister’s secretariat said: “There is no question of that.”