Andhra Pradesh HC rejects Letters Patent appeal and asks Finance Department to submit details – Reuters
VIJAYAWADA: Supporting the Single Judge ordering the Ministry of Finance to submit details of invoices received from other ministries in the form of an affidavit, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh dismissed the Appeal by Letters Patent (LPA), stating that he was not qualified for the hearing.
Hearing the APL filed by Special Chief Secretary (Finance) SS Rawat challenging the instructions of the Single Judge, a divisional bench comprising Judge U Durgaprasad Rao and Judge G Ramakrishna Prasad, ordered Rawat to submit the details to the single judge in a sealed envelope.
Puvvada Venkata Siva Prasad has filed a petition asking the High Court to order the government to approve bills for works carried out in the Repalle of Guntur (now Bapatla) district. Taking up the petition, Judge Battu Devanand ordered the Ministry of Finance to approve the bill in four weeks.
Later, Siva Prasad filed a contempt motion stating that the court order had not been enforced and the bills had not been paid. He named Special Chief Secretary (Finance) SS Rawat as a defendant in the case. Upon hearing the motion, the judge summoned Rawat to appear in court in person.
Following the court instruction, Rawat submitted to the court that invoices received by the department are processed by CMFS on a priority basis. However, the judge was not satisfied with the response and pointed out that bills should be settled on a first-come, first-served basis, which is not followed by the ministry. He asked for details of the invoices for the 2021-22 financial year from certain departments.
In the LPA filing, Rawat’s lawyer, V Ashok Ram, said the search for details of invoices received by the department was outside the scope of the file and unrelated to it. Following this, a divisional bench, headed by Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, issued a provisional suspension, Ashok Ram explained.
Appearing for Siva Prasad, attorney Vasireddy Prabhunath said the APL filed by Rawat was ineligible for the hearing. He said no instructions were issued, but details of the invoices were requested in the form of an affidavit.
After hearing the arguments of both parties, the bench said that according to the instructions of the Supreme Court, the APL cannot be authorized in case of routine instructions and those not affecting the rights of the parties concerned. The present case falls into both categories.
Therefore, the LPA cannot be authorized. Meanwhile, the motion for contempt of court filed by Siva Prasad was again heard by Judge B Devanand, who adjourned the hearing for two weeks.