The Meghalaya High Court has today ordered contempt proceedings against the Secretary of Home Department for deliberately disregarding an order of the court to file a report or affidavit on the action taken against the officials involved in the police vehicle scam.
In the order passed on September 30, the division bench of the High Court had asked the State government to file a report through the Secretary of Home Department, indicating the effective measures taken, including stopping any attempt by those prima facie found to be involved in the racket to remove or dissipate or secret their assets or funds. The report was required to be filed on October 17.
Though the report appeared to have been available on October 17, when the matter was taken up, since no affidavit had been prepared to take responsibility for the report, the High Court adjourned the matter till today.
However, during today’s hearing of the matter, no report or affidavit has been filed by the Secretary of the Home Department.
What irked the court was that the State government filed a “perfunctory and most insulting report”.
As per the report, the office of the Director General of Police, Meghalaya, Shillong on October 11, 2022 has submitted a report of the enquiry committee to the Home Department along with the article of charges and articles of imputation against the erring officer.
The report also stated that the Home Department, after examining the matter with the approval of the competent authority, has initiated departmental proceedings against the officer.
“Let a suo motu rule of contempt be issued against the Secretary in the Home Department of the State for deliberately disregarding an order of this court, trying to obfuscate the issue and stand as an impediment to a fact-finding exercise in the matter of defalcation of public funds. The rule is made returnable on November 2. The department will ensure that the rule is drawn up immediately and personally served on the contemnor,” the High Court said.
The court also directed that a detailed report as to the quantum of the perceived loss, the extent of the abuse of authority, the manner of misuse of vehicles and the prima facie affixation of responsibility should be available in court when this matter appears at the next hearing on November 2.
“It is hoped that the State deals with the matter with the seriousness that it deserves,” the High Court said.