if the Courts orders are flouted like this, then people will lose faith in the Courts. the Tahsildar has proceeded to do precisely what this Court has forbidden him to do in much the same way as the Adam has bitten the God forbidden Apple. Any person of ordinary prudence would entertain a doubt as to whether a public servant of the cadre of a Tahsildar would go to the extent of taking law into his hands in brazen violation of as many as two orders of this Court in the most lawless manner, unless his personal interests compel him to do so? He has committed a grave sacrilege to the judicial orders by his reproachful conduct. He has turned a completely blind eye to the orders of this Court and made an anarchic approach throwing to the winds the essential attributes of good conduct, circumspection and reverence to law and judicial orders, which a public servant, or any citizen for that matter, must religiously observe. In the light of the above discussion, this Court holds that the Tahsildar has disturbed the possession of the members of the Union at least on two occasions, namely, on 12-12-2013 and 8-1-2014, in willful violation of order dated 11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with such type of violation of Courts order with strong hands and to convey to the authorities that the courts are not going to take things lightly. Dealing with acceptance of apologies, in L.D. Jaikwal Vs. State of U.P., the Apex Court held that it cannot subscribe to slap-say sorry-and forget school of thought in administration of contempt jurisprudence. In T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad Vs. Ashok Khot and another , the Supreme Court, while finding a Minister and highly placed forest officers guilty of deliberately flouting its orders, held: That apology is not a weapon of defence to purge the guilty of their offence, nor is it intended to operate as universal panacea, but it is intended to be evidence of real contriteness. Despite this Court speaking its mind in unmistakable terms through order dated 11-12-2013 and restraining him from repeating his act committed on 6-12-2013, the Tahsildar had the temerity to evict the members of the Union more than once. His action not only reflects his vengeful conduct towards persons in occupation of the land in question, but also his utter lack of respect for, nay, fear of violation of the orders of this Court. He has abandoned trepidation for vituperation, shunned discipline for brazenness and preferred confrontation to conformance. This Court is thoroughly convinced that the plea raised by the contemnor that he has acted to protect the public property is a mere subterfuge and the unconditional apology offered by him is only a bogey to extricate himself out of the contempt proceedings. I am also convinced that he has not shown real remorse or penitence for his despicable conduct. Even while taking the most liberal view, I am unable to find any mitigating circumstance to let off the contemnor. Had he indulged in isolated violation, I would have unhesitatingly taken a lenient view against him. If the contemnor, who is a pubic servant, is let off with a lighter punishment, it sends wrong signals to the society. The imposition of penalty under the Contempt of Courts Act must be punitive. (See : Taylor Vs. Ribby Hall Leisure ). Having regard to the nature of the violations indulged in by the Tahsildar, this Court has no qualm of conscience in convicting and sentencing him for simple imprisonment for two months and to pay a fine of Rs.2000/- as any lesser punishment would be a grave travesty of justice. Ordered accordingly. The subsistence allowance is fixed at Rs.300/- per day to be borne by the petitioners under Rule 32(3) of the Contempt of Court Rules, 1980. The Registrar (Judicial) shall take necessary steps for execution of this Judgment under Rules 31 and 33 of the said Rules. The Contempt Cases are accordingly disposed of.

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V. NAGARJUNA REDDY        

C.C.Nos.2233 of 2013

27-3-2015

S.Venkateswarlu and others.. Petitioners

Tata Mohan Rao, Tahsildar, Guntur Mandal, Guntur District.. Respondent

Counsel for petitioners : Ms. T.V. Sridevi

Counsel for respondent : Advocate General of the State of Andhra Pradesh

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  

? CASES REFERRED:    
1.  (2002) 4 SCC 21
2. 2004(8) SCC 683
3. (1984) 3 SCC 405
4. (2006) 5 SCC 1
5. 1997(4) All. England Law Reports 760

The Court made the following :

COMMON JUDGMENT:      
        Though the petitioners are different, as the subject matter and the
nature of allegations in both the Contempt Cases are common, they are heard
and being disposed of together.
        The events which led to the filing of these Contempt Cases are briefly
narrated here under:
        The petitioners in W.P.No.23641 of 2013, four in number, filed the
said Writ Petition with the averments that they belong to washermen
community, eking out their livelihood carrying on the said occupation; that
they have been living in the Guntur West Constituency for the last 22 years;
that for the last ten years, they were making representations to respondent
Nos.1 and 2 requesting them to grant house site pattas in vain; that two years
prior to the filing of the Writ Petition, they have raised huts in Government
(assigned) lands situated in D.No.600/1, Adavitakkellapadu village,
Pedapalakaluru Gram Panchayat, Guntur Mandal; that the Government has  
issued D-Form pattas to about 5000 people living adjacent to the lands in
which the petitioners have been living; that on 27-8-2011, they have made a
representation to the Honble Minister for Housing and he has in turn
forwarded the same to respondent No.1-District Collector, for his
consideration; that they have submitted another representation dated 18-11-
2012 requesting respondent No.2-Tahsildar to provide basic amenities like
drinking water, electricity, roads etc.; that despite the said representations,
respondent Nos.1 and 2 were not taking any steps; and that on 22-7-2013,
respondent No.2 along with respondent No.3 visited their lands on 22-7-
2013 and 26-7-2013 and demanded them to vacate the huts.  Apprehending
their eviction, the petitioners have filed the Writ Petition.
     This Court, by order dated 13-9-2013 disposed of the said Writ
Petition on the instructions reported by the learned Assistant Government
Pleader for Revenue (Assignments) to the effect that the assignments made
to third parties for agricultural purpose were cancelled; that the lands were
resumed in the year 2005 and that at present the lands were vacant.  Having
regard to the said instructions, this Court directed respondent No.2 to
consider the petitioners applications for grant of house sites subject to their
eligibility and communicate his decision to them within two months from
the date of receipt of the said order and that till communication of such
decision, the respondents shall not disturb the petitioners possession if they
are in possession thereof.
        After disposal of the said Writ Petition, The Guntur Town Mobile
Laundry Union, Guntur, (for short the Union) filed W.P.No.35958 of 2013
on 9-12-2013 inter alia pleading that the petitioner is a registered Union of
Washermen community; that there are about 800 members in the Union; that
all of them eke-out their livelihood by carrying on their occupation; that for
the last ten years, the members of the Union were making representations to
respondent Nos.1 and 3 i.e., the District Collector, Guntur District and the
Tahsildar, Guntur Mandal, for grant of house site pattas; that for the last 2
years 200 people occupied the land in D/600/1 of Adavitakkellapadu village,
Summerpeta, Guntur Rural and are living with families by raising huts; that
on 27-8-2011, the Union has submitted representation to the Honble
Minister for Housing for allotment of house site pattas and the Honble
Minister has in turn forwarded the same to respondent No.1 for his
consideration; that some of the members of the Union have filed
W.P.No.23641 of 2013 apprehending their dispossession; that this Court, by
order dated 13-9-2012 in the said Writ Petition has directed respondent
No.3-Tahsildar to consider their applications for grant of house site pattas
and not to dispossess them till a decision is taken and communicated to the
petitioners; that on 5-10-2013 Kancharla Manikya Rao-respondent No.6 and
his wife by name Bharathi came with rowdy elements and threatened the
members of the Union to vacate the huts by claiming that respondent Nos.3
and 5 have given them the said land; that the Union has lodged a complaint
on 7-10-2013 before respondent No.2-Superintendent of Police, Guntur
Urban, with a copy given to respondent No.1; that respondent No.1 has
addressed letter to respondent No.2 on  25-10-2013 to cause enquiry and
take urgent necessary action; that on 6-12-2013, respondent No.6 came to
the land along with rowdy elements and respondent Nos.4 and 5 with
poclainer and they have created havoc threatening the members of the Union
to vacate the land and that the members of the Union have lodged report
dated 6-12-2013 with respondent No.2.
     This Court has initially adjourned the Writ Petition for instructions at
the request of the learned Government Pleader for Revenue (Assignments).
On 11-12-2013, the learned Assistant Government Pleader for Revenue
(Assignments) reported that while the possession of the members of the
Union was not being interfered with by respondent No.3, he has however
removed certain structures raised by some persons overnight in the presence
of the media.  This Court has disposed of the Writ Petition with the
following observations:
     In my opinion, respondent No.3 cannot take law into his
hands by indulging in forcible removal of the structures.  Even if the
structures were found to have been raised overnight, being a
Government servant discharging his official functions, respondent
No.3 shall act in a lawful and responsible manner.  If he has found
that unauthorized structures were raised, he is bound to initiate
appropriate proceedings under the extant enactment for removal of
such constructions.  He cannot arrogate to himself the role of a
muscleman and replicate the private persons, who allegedly raised
unauthorized construction, by resorting to the act of illegally
removing the same.  Such a conduct on the part of the public
servants does not auger well in a democratic society governed by
rule of law.  Therefore, this Court, while placing its thorough
dissatisfaction on the conduct of respondent No.3 on record, restrains
him from repeating such acts in future.  At the same time, the
members of the petitioner are restrained from raising any structures
until their representation for grant of house sites is favourably
considered and house site pattas are granted. (Emphasis added)

This Court has also left liberty with the petitioner to approach the competent
Civil Court for appropriate relief against respondent No.6.
     The petitioners in both the Writ Petitions have filed the respective
Contempt Cases on the same day i.e., on 13-12-2013.  In C.C.No.2233 of
2013 filed the by four individuals, who were the petitioners in W.P.No.23641
of 2013, they have inter alia averred that after the above mentioned Writ
Petition was disposed of on 13-9-2013, respondent No.6 in W.P.No.35958
of 2013-Kancharla Manikya Rao, and his wife came with goondas on
5-10-2013 to the site and threatened the petitioners to vacate the huts; that
thereupon the petitioners have lodged complaint on 7-10-2013 to the
Superintendent of Police, Guntur Urban; that they have also given a report to
the District Collector, Guntur enclosing the order in W.P.No.23641 of 2013;
that on 6-12-2013, Kancharla Manikya Rao came to the land along with the
Tahsildar, Revenue Inspector and the Village Revenue Officer along with
goondas, damaged the huts with poclainer bearing No.AP-07-BP-1659; that
when they tried to resist, the rowdy elements beat up the residents of the huts
including women and children and threw out their utensils and caused
damage to the huts; that by their action they have disobeyed order dated 13-
9-2013 of this Court and that on the same day the petitioners have lodged a
complaint with the Superintendent of Police, Guntur Urban.  The petitioners
referred to W.P.No.35958/2013 filed by the Union and order dated 11-12-
2013 passed by this Court in the said Writ Petition and averred that inspite
of the said order, the Tahsildar along with the Revenue Inspector, Guntur
Urban, Village Revenue Officer, Adavitakkellapadu village, and Kancharla
Manikya Rao, demolished about 25 huts and thereby violated the orders of
this Court. The petitioners have therefore sought for punishing the Tahsildar,
Guntur Mandal, for deliberate violation of order dated 13-9-2013 of this
Court.
     In C.C.No.128 filed by the Union i.e., the petitioner in W.P.No.35958
of 2013, it is averred that after the above mentioned Writ Petition was
disposed of on 11-12-2013 directing the Tahsildar not to dispossess the
members of the Union pending their representation for grant of house site
pattas, the respondents came along with goondas to the land at about 2.30
P.M. on 12-12-2013 and highhandedly removed the huts and threw away the
utensils and other belongings and beat up the members including women and
children indiscriminately; that in deliberate disobedience of order dated 11-
12-2013, the respondents have demolished about 25 huts; that the members
of the Union have given representation dated 12-12-2013 in writing to the
District Collector, Guntur about the said incident which was entered in the
Inward Register as No.2/12-12-2013; that when a copy of the order of this
Court in W.P.No.35958 of 2013 was sought to be delivered to the Tahsildar,
he has refused to receive the same by saying that many such orders are lying
in his office; and that the official respondents are influenced by Kancharla
Manikya Rao, who were bent upon handing over the Government land to the
latter.  The Union has therefore sought the relief of punishing the Tahsildar,
the Revenue Inspector, the Village Revenue Officer and Kancharla Manikya
Rao for violating the order dated 11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013.
     In C.C.No.128 of 2014, the learned Government Pleader for Revenue
(Assignments) took notice on 12-2-2014 and on that day notice was ordered
to Kancharla Manikya Rao only.  However, the notice sent to the said
respondent was returned unserved with the endorsement Not known for
want of door number.  In C.C.No.2233 of 2013, notice was accepted by the
learned Assistant Government Pleader for Revenue (Assignments) on behalf
of the sole respondent-Tahsildar.  As the subject matter of both the
Contempt Cases is common, this Court has directed both the cases to be
posted together.  Accordingly, both the cases were clubbed.
     On 21-2-2014 this Court has admitted C.C.No.2233 of 2013 and
ordered personal presence of the Tahsildar, Guntur Mandal (Hereinafter
referred to as the Tahsildar).  On 21-3-2014, the Tahsildar was personally
present.  The learned Government Pleader for Revenue (Assignments) has
candidly conceded that the Tahsildar ought not to have removed the huts
without the permission of the Court and requested for an adjournment for
taking corrective steps and filing an additional affidavit in that regard.  The
case was subsequently adjourned on many occasions on the representation of
the learned Government Pleader that as the election code of conduct was in
force, no corrective steps could be taken.  On 16-6-2014, the contemnor who
was personally present, expressed his inability to get the huts re-erected.  By
an order passed on that day, this Court has recorded its prima facie opinion
that the Tahsildar has deliberately flouted the orders of the Court and opined
that evidence is needed for rendering conclusive findings on this aspect.  The
case was accordingly adjourned to 30-6-2014 for recording oral evidence.
Accordingly, chief-examination affidavits of the petitioners were filed.  By
order dated 1-8-2014, this Court has directed the learned Principal District
Judge, Guntur, to record evidence after notices to the petitioners and the
respondents in both the Contempt Cases by permitting the Counsel for either
side to enter appearance, cross-examine the deponents of chief affidavits of
both sides besides permitting both the parties to file documentary evidence,
if any in support of their respective stands.  Accordingly, the learned
Principal District Judge, Guntur has recorded the depositions, received and
marked documentary evidence and submitted the same to this Court.
Thereafter, this Court has heard the Counsel for the petitioners in both the
Contempt Cases and the learned Advocate General.  Both the sides have also
submitted their written submissions which were taken on file.
     The gravamen of the allegation against the Tahsildar is that despite
orders dated 13-9-2013 in W.P.No.23641 of 2013 and dated 11-12-2013 in
W.P.No.35958/2013, he has not only interfered with the possession of the
petitioners and other members of the Union but also high-handedly evicted
them by throwing out all their belongings.  While the petitioners in
C.C.No.2233 of 2013 alleged that on 6-12-2013 as many as 25 huts were
removed in violation of the order in W.P.No.23641 of 2013, the petitioner in
C.C.No.128 of 2014 alleged that after the order was passed on 11-12-2013 in
W.P.No.35958 of 2013, the Tahsildar has removed some more huts and  
evicted the occupants from the house plots in their occupation.
        It is worth noticing that in his counter affidavits filed in both the
Contempt Cases, the Tahsildar has admitted in categorical terms that when
the petitioners allegedly tried to enter the land on 5-12-2013 by erecting
temporary huts, the same were removed by him on 6-12-2013.  However, the
said action was sought to be justified by pleading that it was done to protect
the Government lands as the huts were erected overnight on 5-12-2013.  It is
significant to note that in para-7 of his counter affidavit filed in C.C.No.128
of 2014, the Tahsildar averred that after 6-12-2013 neither himself nor his
subordinates i.e., respondent Nos.2 and 3 in the said Contempt Case have
entered the land and taken any action as alleged in the affidavit.  He has
further averred that after W.P.No.35958 of 2013 was disposed of on 11-12-
2013, he has not initiated any action and did not interfere with the
possession of the land.
        Before proceeding further, it is relevant to note that the petitioners
have pressed the Contempt Cases only against the Tahsildar, Guntur Mandal
and therefore this Court has confined the consideration of the Contempt
Cases only against him.
        Having regard to the respective pleadings and evidence on record, the
following Points arise for adjudication:
1.      Whether the removal of huts by the Tahsildar on 6-12-2013
constitutes willful disobedience of order dated 13-9-2013 in
W.P.No.23641 of 2013?
2.      Whether the Tahsildar has not interfered with and disturbed the
possession of the writ petitioners/members of the Union any time
after 6-12-2013, and if so, whether such act constitutes willful
violation of order dated 11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013 ?
3.      If Point Nos.1 and 2 are held against the Tahsildar, for what action he
is liable?

Re Point No.1:  By order dated 13-9-2013 in W.P.No.23641 of 2013, this
Court has issued a direction in unequivocal terms that till the Tahsildar
communicates his decision on the applications made by the petitioners for
grant of house sites he and the other respondents shall not disturb the
petitioners possession if they are in possession of the lands.  The Tahsildar
has maintained the stand that none of the petitioners was in possession of the
land; that on 5-12-2013 they tried to raise huts overnight and that on 6-12-
2013 he has got the huts removed.  Except his ipsi dixit, the Tahsildar, has
not proved the allegation by producing any contemporaneous evidence that
the petitioners tried to raise huts overnight in the land in question.  He has
neither given any notice to the petitioners nor at least submitted any report to
his superior officers such as Revenue Divisional Officer or the District
Collector informing that he has thwarted the attempts of the petitioners to
encroach the Government land in the guise of the order passed by this Court.
He has also failed to inform the learned Government Pleader about the
action taken by him, as in my opinion, such information was necessary
having regard to the restraint order passed by this Court in W.P.No.23641 of
2013.  No iota of evidence was produced by the Tahsildar before the learned
District Judge during the enquiry to buttress his stand that on 5-12-2013,
huts were sought to be raised.  On the contrary, the petitioners and the
members of the Union submitted representations dated 6-12-2013 and 16-
12-2013 to the District Collector, Guntur and the Superintendent of Police,
Guntur Urban.  These representations have been marked as Exs.A-7, A-8
and A-9 in C.C.No.128 of 2014 and Exs.A-5 and A-11 in C.C.No.2233 of
2013.  In Ex.A-6 marked in C.C.No.128 of 2014, some of the members of
the Union represented that there were 210 houses/huts as shown in the list
enclosed to the representation; that out of them the Tahsildar and his
subordinates have removed 25 huts and that when they pleaded with the
Tahsildar and his subordinates by showing the order of this Court, he has
commented that bags full of such orders are available in their office and that
the petitioners can safely photo frame and preserve the same in their houses.
In their chief-examination affidavits, PW-1 to PW-8 in C.C.No.2233 of
2013, have reiterated the said allegation.  Not even a suggestion has been put
to the witnesses that the Tahsildar has not made such comments
undermining the authority of this Court.  What is more, even in his affidavit
filed in lieu of chief-examination as RW-1, he has not denied the said
allegation.  All that RW-1 has stated in his chief affidavit in that regard is
as
under : The further allegation that this respondent did not care for the
orders of this Honble Court is not true and the same is denied.  On these
facts, the plea of the Tahsildar that he had to per force remove the huts as
they were sought to be raised overnight is evidently pressed into service to
get over the charge of contempt.
     Assuming that huts were sought to be raised overnight, there was
absolutely no necessity for the Tahsildar to act in a high-handed manner of
forcibly removing the huts.  In such a situation, he could have followed the
due legal procedure by initiating proceedings under the A.P.Land
Encroachment Act, 1905.  As noted earlier, except his self-serving statement
that huts were attempted to be raised overnight, the Tahsildar failed to place
any evidence in support of the said stand.  Added to this, by making highly
disparaging remarks on the order passed by this Court which stood proved in
the absence of specific refutation of the allegations leveled by the
petitioners, the Tahsildar has conducted himself in a manner unbecoming of
a public servant.  Even after a full-fledged enquiry, he has failed to justify
his action of removing the huts despite the restraint order passed by this
Court in W.P.No.23641 of 2013.  I have therefore no hesitation to conclude
that there were no bonafides whatsoever in the action of the Tahsildar in
removing the huts on 6-12-2013.
     It would be useful in this context to refer to the specific allegation
made by the petitioners against the Tahsildar.  In both the Writ Petitions, the
petitioners have pleaded that his undue interference was at the behest of one
Kancharla Manikya Rao, who was even impleaded as respondent No.6 in  
W.P.No.35958 of 2013.  They have specifically alleged that with a view to
handover possession of the Government land to the said Manikya Rao, the
Tahsildar has been acting in the most unlawful and high-handed manner.
The Tahsildar has denied this allegation in the counter affidavits filed in the
Contempt Cases.  However, in his chief-examination affidavits filed in both
the Contempt Cases, he has stated that the land is under the control of the
Government and that in order to protect the Government land he has
removed the huts. Interestingly, in the cross-examination of PW-1 made on
behalf of Kancharla Manikya Rao, it was sought to be elicited from PW-1
that Ac.4-85 cents of land was assigned in the year 1975 to the father of
Kancharla Manikya Rao under Ex-servicemen quota; that the assignee was
addicted to vices; that the assignees wife made a representation on 27-9-
1077 to the Government, on which the land was transferred in her name and
that the Government has issued proceedings changing the D.K.T. patta by
assigning it Patta No.67 in her name; that after the demise of his parents,
Kancharla Manikya Rao inherited the said lands and that the said person is
in possession of the land.  From the tenor of the cross-examination made on
behalf of Kancharla Manikya Rao, there can be no doubt that he has been
actively pursuing his claim over the land in question.  In many of their
representations made to the District Collector and the Superintendent of
Police, such as Exs.A-5 and A-7 in C.C.No.2233 of 2013 and Exs.A-3 and
A-8 in C.C.No.128 of 2014, the petitioners specifically alleged that the
Tahsildar has been resorting to the unlawful acts of their forcible eviction at
the instance of the said Kancharla Manikya Rao.  Though the Tahsildar has
taken the stand that the assigned land was resumed and the same is in
possession of the Government, he has not produced any document in the
enquiry to show that at the relevant point of time, the land was in the
possession of the Government after resumption.  At least, after PW-1 was
cross-examined by the Counsel for Kancharla Manikya Rao in C.C.No.128
of 2014, no attempt was made by the Tahsildar to mark the relevant revenue
record to show that Manikya Raos claim that the land was transferred in the
name of his mother is false  and that he was not acting at the behest of the
said Manikya Rao.  In the light of these facts, the allegation that the
Tahsildar has acted with a malafide intention of supporting the cause of
Kancharla Manikya Rao and that with this diabolic intention he has gone to
the extent of deliberately flouting the order of this Court repeatedly is not
without merit.
     On the analysis as above, I hold that the removal of huts on 6-12-2013
by the Tahsildar with the help of his subordinates was not a bonafide act and
the same was committed in willful violation of order dated 13-9-2013 in
W.P.No.23641 of 2013.
Re Point No.2: The alleged unlawful interference by the Tahsildar and his
subordinate staff on 11-12-2013 is the subject matter of C.C.No.128 of 2014.
The said Contempt Case was filed by the Union alleging that despite order
dated 11-12-2013 passed by this Court wherein it has indicted the Tahsildar
for donning the role of a muscleman and forcibly removing the huts, on 12-
12-2013 i.e., a day after the said order in W.P.No.35958 of 2013 was passed
by this Court, all the respondents in the Contempt Case, including Kancharla
Manikya Rao, came to the site at about 2.30 P.M. and high-handedly
removed the huts and threw away the utensils and other belongings; and that
when the members of the Union tried to resist this unlawful action of the
respondents and goondas of Kancharla Manikya Rao by referring to the
order passed by this Court, the Tahsildar and his subordinates made
derogatory remarks about the order and demolished another 25 huts.  They
have further alleged that a representation was made to the District Collector
on 12-12-2013 about the order passed by this Court and the same was
entered in the Inward Register of the Collectors office and that when a copy
of the order was sought to be given to the Tahsildar, he refused to receive
the same by stating that such orders are lying in his office.
        The Tahsildar filed his counter affidavit on 20-3-2014 wherein while
admitting that when small huts, temporary in nature, were sought to be
erected on 5-12-2013, they were removed by himself and his subordinate
staff on 6-12-2013.  He has referred to order dated 11-12-2013 in
W.P.No.35958 of 2013 and averred that as his enquiries revealed that the
petitioners are not the residents of Summerpeta area of Adavitakkellapadu
village and as they are not eligible for grant of house site pattas, a
panchanama was conducted on 4-2-2014 and an endorsement was also    
issued on 5-2-2014 with a report to the Guntur Municipal Corporation to put
up the same in the notice board and the same was also put up in the
Tahsildars office.  The most significant statement is made by the Tahsildar
in para-7 of his counter affidavit wherein he has averred as under :
     It is respectfully submitted that after 6.12.2013 neither this
respondent nor respondents 2 and 3 did not enter into the land and
did not take any action as alleged in the affidavit.  After this Honble
Court disposed off the writ petition on 11.12.2013 this respondent
did not initiate any action and did not interfere with the land as
alleged.

        Three members of the Union filed their affidavits in lieu of their chief-
examination before this Court as PW-1 to PW-3 and identical depositions
were filed in the enquiry before the District Judge after reference by this
Court.  All these affidavits are in pari materia with each other.  In
paragraph-3 they have alleged that the respondents willfully, wantonly and
deliberately disobeyed the orders of this Court on 12-12-2013 and
demolished about 25 huts.  PW-1 to PW-3 were subjected to detailed cross-
examination by the learned Government Pleader on behalf of the Tahsildar
and his subordinate staff.  No suggestion whatsoever was put to the effect
that the alleged interference by the Tahsildar and his subordinates on 12-12-
2013 was false.  On the contrary, the whole tenor of the cross-examination
reveals that the Tahsildar was trying to make out a case that despite this
Court restraining the petitioners from raising constructions in its order dated
11-12-2013, they have resorted to raising constructions, impliedly
suggesting that as the petitioners have violated the restraint order of this
Court by raising fresh constructions, the Tahsildar and his supporting staff
have removed the same.
     The Tahsildar has thoroughly exposed himself in his evidence.  What
he has pleaded in his counter affidavit filed in C.C.No.128 of 2014, was
reiterated in his chief examination that after the Writ Petition was disposed
of on 11-12-2013, he did not initiate any action and did not cause
interference.  However, his bluff was called in the cross-examination.  The
relevant portion of his cross-examination is as under :
     The acts of attempt to encroach the land in D.No.600/1, I said
that was being done are: those persons have brought in Auto tallies,
bamboo sticks, iron roof sheets etc. When four or five huts were
raised with that material and with hay, on seeing our arrival, those
auto-rickshaw persons ran away, then we removed those huts.  We
took the help of Municipal staff for the removal of those huts. We
orally made a request to the Municipal officials, who has a special
party for it, and they came and assisted us.
     I have not mentioned in my chief examination about the
incident about which I said now that occurred on 8-1-2014.  We have
taken up the removal of the huts on two occasions, one was on 6-12-
2013 when the first attempt was made, and another on the second
occasion on 8-1-2014 as I said now. (Emphasis added)

When the witness was confronted with the above portion of his deposition in
the cross-examination and suggested that he has contradicted his own
statement in chief-examination that after this Court has disposed of the Writ
Petition on 11-12-2013 he did not initiate any action or caused interference,
the witness has given the following answer:
     I had not entered the land in question against the orders
rendered by Honble High Court in the writ petition.  And as a duty
bound officer to protect the Government land, I can visit any such
Government land for any number of occasions, the witness adds.

When the witness was further confronted with the contents of order dated
11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013 wherein this Court has observed that
even if the Tahsildar has found that unauthorized structures were raised he
was bound to initiate appropriate proceedings under the extant enactment for
removal of such constructions and asked whether the removal of huts by him
on 8-1-2014 was not in violation of the said order, his answer was :
I have not violated the above orders of Honble High Court.  The
witness adds, no notice is required to be issued with regard to the
huts that were raised overnight.  The said provision is there in Land
Grabbing Act.

        The evidence on record discussed above thus makes it abundantly
clear that though the Tahsildar has made denial of allegation of his
interference after disposal of W.P.No.35958 of 2013 on 11-12-2013, in his
counter affidavit filed in the Contempt Case and also in the chief-
examination affidavit, he has not specifically denied the allegation made by
PW-1 to PW-3 in their chief-examination affidavits regarding his
interference and removal of huts on 12-12-2013 by putting relevant
suggestions to the said witnesses.  His stoic silence on this aspect lends
strength to the allegation made by the petitioners against the Tahsildar of his
interference on 12-12-2013.
     However, more brazen is the conduct of the Tahsildar who has made
deliberately false averments in his counter-affidavit and also his chief-
examination affidavit by pleading that after this Court has passed order on
11-12-2013, he has neither initiated any action nor caused interference.  As
noted above, he has categorically admitted in his evidence that he has
interfered on 8-1-2014 and removed the huts.  When he was confronted for
his blatant conduct, he doggedly justified the same by stating that if huts
were raised overnight, he need not issue any notice to the alleged
encroachers as per the provisions of the Land Grabbing Act.  This stand
taken by the Tahsildar in his cross-examination is in the teeth of order dated
11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013 wherein this Court has strongly
indicted him for resorting to the illegal act of removing the huts even if they
were raised unauthorisedly, like private musclemen.  The statement made by
the Tahsildar in his cross-examination referred to above reflects his
contumacious attitude towards the order of this Court and the due process of
law and the scant respect and regard he has for the rule of law.  The
Tahsildar sought to project himself as a messiah of the Government property
and appears to think that for protecting such property he can ignore the
directions issued by this Court.  This attitude of the Tahsildar not only
reveals his arrogance but also his lawless approach of indulging in blatant
violation of the orders of the Constitutional Court.
        While there was no justification for the Tahsildar to remove the huts
on 6-12-2013 in the face of order dated 13-9-2013 in W.P.No.23641 of
2013, which contains a peremptory direction that till disposal of the
petitioners representation for grant of house sites and communication of his
decision, he and his subordinate staff shall not disturb the possession of the
four petitioners, even assuming that he has acted bonafide to protect the
Government property as being pleaded by him, his admitted interference on
8-1-2014 and removal of huts cannot be justified on any count.  Such action
falls foul of order dated 11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013.  While
disapproving the action of the Tahsildar for his interference on 6-12-2013,
this Court categorically observed in the above mentioned order that the even
if structures were found to have been raised overnight, being a Government
servant discharging his official functions, the Tahsildar shall act in a lawful
and responsible manner and that if he has found that unauthorized structures
were raised, he has to initiate appropriate proceedings under the extant
enactment for removal of such constructions.  The Tahsildar was also
directed not to arrogate to himself the role of musclemen and replicate
private persons who have allegedly raised unauthorized constructions.
Further more, he was restrained from repeating such acts in future.
   This Court only wonders as to in what better and stronger manner it
should have conveyed its views to prevent the Tahsildar from repeating his
blatant and high-handed action once over?  A public servant with any
semblance of responsibility, self-discipline and respect for law and orders
passed by the Courts would not have caused further interference even if he
found that there were repeated attempts by the members of the Union to
raise more and more huts.  Even in such a situation, there was no option left
to the Tahsildar other than following the observations made and the
directions issued by this Court in order dated 11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958
of 2013.  The Tahsildar has obviously laboured under a misconception that
under the Land Grabbing Act he is entitled to remove the huts without notice
to the encroachers.  He seems to think that the purported power conferred on
him under the Land Grabbing Act the A.P. Land Grabbing Prohibition Act,
1982) enables him to overreach the order of this Court passed in
W.P.No.35958 of 2013 and he could violate the said order with impunity by
exercising such non-existent power.  In my considered opinion, there could
be no better case of a naked violation of the orders of a Court than the
present one.  It is indeed consternating to note that the Tahsildar acted with
such vengeance as could be reflected from the fact that on 8-1-2014 he has
used brutal force.  This is evident from Ex.A-11 and Ex.A-13 marked in
C.C.No.128 of 2014.  Ex.A-11 is letter dated 6-1-2014 addressed by the
Tahsildar to the Station House Officer, Nallapadu.  This letter containing
two paragraphs, reads as under :
        I invite your attention to the reference cited.  I am to inform that
the land of Ac.4.89cts in S.No:600/1 of Adavithakkellapadu H/o.
Pedapalakaluru village of Guntur mandal was encroached by Rajaka
community people and number (of) times evicted and repeatedly
encroached the same land by the same community of Rajaka people.  
        I am to further informe(d) that the F.I.R. has also booked in your
Police Station.  The eviction is proposed to be conducted at 6 A.M.
on 8.1.2014. Hence, you are requested to provide bandobust for
eviction of the encroachment in the above mentioned land.
(Emphasis added)

This letter bears ample testimony to the fact that the Tahsildar has evicted
the people belonging to Rajaka community a number of times.  Further, he
has the audacity of addressing the Station House Officer, Nallapadu, even
before taking a decision on the representations made by the members of the
Union for grant of house sites as directed by this Court, to provide police
bandobust by proposing eviction at 6 A.M. on 8-1-2014.  Ex.A-13 is a copy
of the letter addressed by the Inspector of Police, Nallapadu Police Station to
Mr. M. Ratan Mohan, Advocate, Arundalpet, obtained under the Right to
Information Act, 2005, wherein he has informed the Advocate that on the
requisition made by the Tahsildar the Inspector has deployed 88 police
personnel, comprising, 3 Inspectors, 2 S.Is., 3 A.S.Is., 12 Head Constables
(including women), 35 Constables (including women constables), 3 Armed
A.R.S.Is., 10 Armed Head Constables and 20 Constables.  It is beyond this
Courts imagination that in the face of existence of two orders passed by it,
namely, order dated 13-9-2013 in W.P.No.23641 of 2013 and order dated
11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013, the Tahsildar could muster the
courage of sitting over the applications made by the petitioners without
disposing of the same and giving requisition in writing to the police to give
police aid and carrying out eviction.
     In short, the Tahsildar has proceeded to do precisely what this Court
has forbidden him to do in much the same way as the Adam has bitten the 
God forbidden Apple.  Any person of ordinary prudence would entertain a
doubt as to whether a public servant of the cadre of a Tahsildar would go to
the extent of taking law into his hands in brazen violation of as many as two
orders of this Court in the most lawless manner, unless his personal interests
compel him to do so?  He has committed a grave sacrilege to the judicial
orders by his reproachful conduct.  He has turned a completely blind eye to
the orders of this Court and made an anarchic approach throwing to the
winds the essential attributes of good conduct, circumspection and reverence
to law and judicial orders, which a public servant, or any citizen for that
matter, must religiously observe.
     In the light of the above discussion, this Court holds that the Tahsildar
has disturbed the possession of the members of the Union at least on two
occasions, namely, on 12-12-2013 and 8-1-2014, in willful violation of order
dated 11-12-2013 in W.P.No.35958 of 2013. 
Re Point No.3:  In both the Contempt Cases, the Tahsildar, while stating
that he has acted to protect the property of the State, has tendered
unconditional apology and assured that henceforth he shall implement the
orders of this Court, both in letter and spirit.
     This Court, with all its conscientious approach always finds itself in
an unenviable situation when it comes to imposition of punishment on a
contemnor.  Being the repository of the power to impose penalties in terms
of the provisions of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, it is necessary for the
Court to tread a cautious path in punishing the contemnor.  This is more so
in cases of Government servants, for, imposition of punishment will ruin
their careers.  Therefore, this Court has made a deep contemplation and
given its earnest consideration on the punishment to be imposed on the
Tahsildar.
     In Anil Ratan Sarkar Vs. Hirak Gosh , the Apex Court, while
dealing with the purpose of the Act, held that a powerful weapon in the
hands of Courts is introduced for the purpose of securing a feeling of
confidence in the people in general and to ensure proper administration of
justice in the country.
     In E.T. Sunup Vs. C.A.N.S.S. Employees Association  the Supreme
Court has taken judicial notice of the tendency of Government officers to
somehow or the other circumvent the orders of the Court and try to take
recourse to one justification or the other.  It has expressed its anguish by
observing that if the Courts orders are flouted with impunity, people will
lose faith in Courts and therefore it is necessary to deal with such type of
violation of Court orders with strong hands and to convey to the authorities
that the Courts are not going to take the things lightly.  Dealing with the plea
of mercy, the Court observed :
        But if the Courts orders are flouted like this, then people
will lose faith in the Courts.  Therefore, it is necessary to deal with
such type of violation of Courts order with strong hands and to
convey to the authorities that the courts are not going to take things
lightly.

     Dealing with acceptance of apologies, in L.D. Jaikwal Vs. State of
U.P.,  the Apex Court held that it cannot subscribe to slap-say sorry-and
forget school of thought in administration of contempt jurisprudence.
     In T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad Vs. Ashok Khot and another ,
the Supreme Court, while finding a Minister and highly placed forest
officers guilty of deliberately flouting its orders, held:
        That apology is not a weapon of defence to purge the guilty of
their offence, nor is it intended to operate as universal panacea, but it
is intended to be evidence of real contriteness.

     Despite this Court speaking its mind in unmistakable terms through
order dated 11-12-2013 and restraining him from repeating his act
committed on 6-12-2013, the Tahsildar had the temerity to evict the
members of the Union more than once.  His action not only reflects his
vengeful conduct towards persons in occupation of the land in question, but
also his utter lack of respect for, nay, fear of violation of the orders of this
Court.  He has abandoned trepidation for vituperation, shunned discipline for
brazenness and preferred confrontation to conformance. This Court is
thoroughly convinced that the plea raised by the contemnor that he has acted
to protect the public property is a mere subterfuge and the unconditional
apology offered by him is only a bogey to extricate himself out of the
contempt proceedings.  I am also convinced that he has not shown real
remorse or penitence for his despicable conduct.  Even while taking the most
liberal view, I am unable to find any mitigating circumstance to let off the
contemnor.  Had he indulged in isolated violation, I would have
unhesitatingly taken a lenient view against him.  If the contemnor, who is a
pubic servant, is let off with a lighter punishment, it sends wrong signals to
the society.  The imposition of penalty under the Contempt of Courts Act
must be punitive. (See : Taylor Vs. Ribby Hall Leisure ).
     Having regard to the nature of the violations indulged in by the
Tahsildar, this Court has no qualm of conscience in convicting and
sentencing him for simple imprisonment for two months and to pay a fine of
Rs.2000/- as any lesser punishment would be a grave travesty of justice.
Ordered accordingly.  The subsistence allowance is fixed at Rs.300/- per day
to be borne by the petitioners under Rule 32(3) of the Contempt of Court
Rules, 1980.
     The Registrar (Judicial) shall take necessary steps for execution of this
Judgment under Rules 31 and 33 of the said Rules.
     The Contempt Cases are accordingly disposed of.

________________________  
Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy
     After the Judgment was delivered, Mr. B. Ramesh, learned Special
Government Pleader, requested for stay of operation of the Judgment for a
reasonable period to enable his client to file appeals.
     Accordingly, the operation of the Judgment is stayed for a period of
one month.
________________________  
Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy
Date : 27-3-2015

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