The High court of Telangana expressed its surprise on Wednesday over the fact that the State government had sanctioned Rs 59 crore to fight contempt of court cases pending against the bureaucrats, which included state Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.
The two-judge bench of Telangana High Court, comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vijaysen Reddy, directed the State government not to release the amount to Kumar in a PIL which questioned the government order dated June 7 allocating Rs 59 crore for pending contempt of court cases faced by him.
The court was hearing the PIL filed by a lecturer against the State government's financial assistance to incur the legal expenditure to fight contempt cases pending against the bureaucrats, but primarily against the Chief Commissioner of Land Administration, a post held by Somesh Kumar earlier.
The court questioned the rationale behind the allocation of taxpayers' money and asked whether the treasury norms allowed this sort of financial aid to bureaucrats. The High Court also served notices to secretaries of finance and revenue departments, directors of treasury, CCLA and to Somesh Kumar.
On June 7, the Chief Secretary had issued a Government Order (GO) sanctioning Rs 58,95,63,000 to meet the legal expenses of contempt of court cases pending before the state High Court. The next hearing on the matter is on October 27.
Somesh Kumar's legal fights
This is not the first time that the CS Telangana has been fighting court cases. Following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in 2014, IAS officer Somesh Kumar was allotted to the Andhra Pradesh cadre. But he obtained an order from the Hyderabad bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in March 2016 to work in the Telangana cadre.
While the Centre has been struggling to pursue the legal fight against Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar challenging his continuation in the Telangana Cadre, the case remained unheard in the Telangana High Court for over four years.
Recently, the Telangana High Court has fixed September 30 as the next date of hearing for the long-pending case filed by DoPT challenging the CAT order and continuation of Somesh Kumar in the Telangana cadre.
In December 2019, Kumar, then Special Chief Secretary, Revenue was appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Telangana. He superseded several of his seniors in getting the position. The decision to appoint Kumar, from the IAS 1989 batch, was taken by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.