The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a contempt petition against the Uttar Pradesh government and its chief minister for suspending IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was purportedly removed for ordering demolition of an illegal wall of a mosque constructed on public land in Gautam Budh Nagar.
The petition filed by advocate ML Sharma had contended that the suspended officer had only complied with the orders of the court in demolishing the illegal structure and the decision of the state government to suspend her amounted to contempt.
A bench comprising justices HL Dattu and SJ Mukhopadhaya felt there was nothing to show willful and deliberate contempt by any of the alleged contemners.
“How does the action of state government amounts to contempt?” the bench wondered, noting the authorities did not prevent the demolition of unauthorised construction of religious buildings on public land. The state did not take any decision relating to the top court’s order, it said.
The bench felt Sharma had filed the contempt petition too early as the Akhilesh Yadav government was yet to take a decision on the charge sheet issued against Nagpal. It observed the stage of contempt would only arise after the government takes a decision pursuant to the officer’s response to the charge sheet.
According to Sharma, the action to suspend 28-year-old Nagpal was contemptuous as the officer had complied with the directions of an apex court order that prohibits construction of any religious structure on public land.
He moved petition seeking contempt after the top court declined to entertain his plea to quash all the proceedings against Nagpal and reinstate her.
The sub-divisional magistrate was suspended on July 27.