WEST GODAVARI: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday, sentenced Yashodabai, a Forest Department Officer (DFO) belonging to the Eluru division to undergo two months of imprisonment and pay a fine of RS 2, 000 for contempt of court. The court also stated that if the fine was not paid up on time she would have to serve another week in jail. Justice Battu Devanand passed the order two days ago suspending the execution of the judgment for 4 weeks at the request of Yashodabai.
As per reports, the forest officer had violated the court orders which were given in a case related to tenders for transporting wood. The Forest Department had issued a notification on the 12th of January 12 this year inviting tenders for teak and timber transportation within the Kannapuram Forest Range in West Godavari District.
Goli Sarath Reddy from Eluru had filed the lowest tender, but the forest authorities disregarded the tenders and did not give him the work order. Instead, the authorities started working with the representatives of the Forest Conservation Committee. Aggrieved by this Sarath Reddy filed a petition in the High Court and following an inquiry, Justice Battu Devanand issued an interim order directing that no work be conducted until the tender process is completed.
The High Court orders were disregarded and they continued transportation. Sarath Reddy then filed a contempt of court petition against district forest officials T. Srinivasa Rao and Yashodabai.
Justice Devanand, who conducted the inquiry, found that the teak and timber transportation work was done by the Forest Conservation Committee without canceling the tenders. He said that if the work being done by the Forest Conservation Committee was done in good faith after the tenders would have been canceled before the court issued interim orders and the work would have continued thereafter.
However, Yashodabai had canceled the tenders on the same day as the interim orders of the High Court to avoid contempt of court. Justice Devanand ruled that Yashodabai's action was malafide and therefore rejected it.