The Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the country.
The verdict delivered by the apex court is final and nobody gets to challenge the same. However, contrary to the conventional norms, a letter surfaced in the courtroom that left the Judges in bitter anger and resulted in a severe tongue lashing to corporate authorities.
The letter was written by an ordinary ‘desk officer’ who requested “no coercive action to be taken against telecom companies for not paying dues.”
What’s The Story?
The Supreme Court was infuriated over the non-payment of pending gross dues by telecom companies and heavily lashed them for their disobedience and carelessness. Reportedly, telecom companies are to pay around One Lakh Forty-Seven Thousand Crore due as Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).
The Supreme Court issued a notice regarding the non-payment of dues long back in October 2019. However, the hearings were apparently triggered in the session on Friday, 14th February 2020 by a letter addressed to the Attorney General by a federal authority.
The letter was in the name of a desk officer who held the position of Director at the Department of Telecommunication.
Mander Deshpande, Director along with the division of telecom, duly signed the controversial letter and instructed the federal authorities to take no action against the non-payment of dues. Its exact wordings are, “You are directed not to take any coercive action against the licensees in case they fail to comply with the Supreme Court order, until further orders.”
The Judges’ Reaction
As soon as the letter was presented in the courtroom, the three-judge bench went on a strong verbal lashing over the temerity of the official in charge.
The head of the bench, Justice Arun Mishra got infuriated and summoned the desk officer to the court. He was shocked by the audacity of the director and reacted in anguish saying, “Should we wind up the Supreme Court? A desk officer considers himself a judge and stays our order. Who is the desk officer? A desk officer says coercive action not to be taken until further orders. How can he stay our orders?”
As a consequence of the same, the Head of the bench requested the authorities to present the culprit before the court and inquire into the proceedings of the action taken against him. The letter did more damage as it issued notices against the directors of the faulty telecom companies and asked for a show cause over the progress on contempt proceedings charged before.
The Court gave the directors a deadline until March 17, 2020, to present themselves in the courtroom over non-payment of dues whereas, the desk officer needed to show up in the court by 23rd January 2020.
Justice Arun Mishra was enraged over the letter and he felt it was an insult to the country’s judiciary structure. He says,
“Nonsense has been created. There is no law left in this country. It is better not to live in this country and rather leave the country. I am anguished. I feel I should not work in this court.”
The Bigger Issues
We are still not clear about the reasons that made a desk officer issue notice over the authority of the apex court. Considering the proceedings over the case, the audacity and corruption involved in the entire telecom department is in question.
The judges felt clearly targeted as to how an ordinary officer could write a letter to an attorney general ordering a stay on the Supreme Court’s order.
As people who take pride in their work and are very respectful towards their profession, the Judges felt their authority was being challenged and they felt annoyed.
The Court clearly mentioned that the move was made to dupe the organizational structure and cover the companies over their non-payment. It can also be said that there might be some ‘money’ or ‘political’ power involved, but without any solid proof no definite statements can be made.
Learning from the incident, the Supreme Court has ordered an inquiry over the contempt shown by the officer, and he could also land up in jail if things fail to sort out.
Such a happening shook the Justice and prompted him to criticize the prevailing lawlessness in the country which didn’t even spare the judiciary.
As citizens, it is saddening to come across such news that breeds corruption at a higher level. However, it’s good to see that strict action has been taken against such officers and there’s still hope for change.
Image Credits: Google Images
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