Facing Arrest, Tamil Nadu Higher Education Secretary Apologises In Court

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Contempt proceedings are serious proceedings and they cannot be taken lightly, said judge.


Tamil Nadu higher education secretary Mangat Ram Sharma today tendered an unconditional apology in the Madras High Court, a day after it ordered his arrest for failure to appear in a contempt case despite advance notice.

The IAS officer appeared before Justice N Kirubakaran and filed an affidavit tendering unconditional apology for his failure to be present in the court on Monday.

Recording the affidavit, the judge impleaded the University Grants Commission as a party to the contempt petition enabling it to assist the court on the matter and posted the case to January 25 for further hearing.

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Taking a serious view of his failure to appear in the court, Justice Kirubakaran had on Monday directed the court registry to issue a bailable warrant against Sharma and ordered the Chennai Police Commissioner to arrest and produce him before the court by January 9.

"Contempt proceedings are serious proceedings and they cannot be taken lightly, especially, by a higher official like the higher education secretary," he had said.

The judge had also refused to accept an explanation offered by the additional advocate General who said that Sharma was away in Vellore for a syndicate meeting of the Thiruvalluvar University based there.

"The court has got every reason to believe that he (the officer) had deliberately avoided appearance," the judge had said.

He was passing further interim orders on a contempt petition filed by the Association of Self Financing Arts and Science and Management Colleges in Tamil Nadu against the Coimbatore-based Bharathiyar University over setting up of distance education study centres through franchise institutes in areas outside its jurisdiction.

The petitioner sought contempt action, contending that contrary to an undertaking given before the court on December 8, 2017, the Bharathiyar University syndicate had passed a resolution to admit students from such study centres under the distance education programme for 2018-19.

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