New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal of the Jagan Mohan Reddy government against the Andhra Pradesh High Court order asking it to remove the blue, green and white colours from ‘Gram Panchayat’ buildings as their colours resemble with party flag of ruling YSRCP.
The top court, however, granted relief to the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary of ‘Panchyati Raj’ and the Commissioner of ‘Panchayati Raj and Rural Development of the Andhra Pradesh government by closing the contempt proceedings initiated by the High Court against them, said lawyer G N Reddy, who represented the government.
In the proceeding held through video-conferencing, a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Krishan Murari and S Ravindra Bhat, did not agree to the submission of the state government and rejected its appeal which had also claimed that the High Court wrongly set aside the Government Order (GO) of April 23 of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government on guidelines for painting government buildings including ‘panchayat bhawan’.
The state government had challenged quashing of the GO and the suo-motu (on its own) contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary and others for allegedly not following the High Court order to remove certain colours from ‘Gram Panchayat’ buildings.
Reddy said that though the appeal has been dismissed, the contempt proceedings against senior state officials have been closed.
The High Court, in March, had ordered that the blue, green and white colours from the ‘Gram Panchayat’ buildings be removed, but the state government, instead of removing the colours, added terra cotta to them with which ruling YSRCP can be identified.
The state government, in its appeal, said that a committee was constituted on April 2, by it to look into various colour themes for painting panchayat buildings and other offices of local bodies and authorities.
Based on the recommendations of the Committee, the government on April 23 issued guidelines, through the GO, which included that the relevant provisions under the National Buildings Code will be strictly adhered to.
"It shall be specifically ensured (through the GO) that the colour combination for painting the buildings and other properties should not be similar to the colours of flags and colors of political parties,” the government said in its appeal.
“The petitioners are aggrieved by the final order of the Andhra Pradesh HC order dated May 22 whereby the High Court besides allowing the Writ Petition… had also issued contempt in suo motu contempt case,” the plea said.
There was not any violation of the HC orders and the painting of panchayat buildings have been done strictly as per the guidelines under the National Buildings Code, it said. Earlier, on May 28, Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney and few other senior officials appeared before the High Court in response to the contempt proceedings initiated for not complying with the HC order on removal of certain colours from Gram Panchayat buildings.
Prior to this, the High Court had said that no serious effort was made to ensure that the proposed colour combination did not resemble to that of YSRCP flag and offices.
It had also said that the painting of Panchayat buildings with blue, green and white amounted misutilising government money for political gain.
The High Court, in its order passed on PILs, had ordered removal of the colours from panchayat buildings and had ordered repainting.