Andhra Pradesh Business Culture Employment Legal Nation

Former Visakhapatnam municipal body chief M Hari Narayana convicted for contempt of court

VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has sentenced IAS officer and former Commissioner of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) M Hari Narayana to three months simple imprisonment and imposed Rs 2,000 fine in a contempt of court case.

However, the court stayed the implementation of the verdict for six months for the officer to file an appeal. The court asked him to surrender before the HC Registrar on June 16 if he either fails to appeal or gets a stay from the division bench of the HC.

Meanwhile, the court struck down the contempt proceedings against Circle Inspector of Gantyada police station Somasekhar and former MLA P Srinivas in the case.

The case related to a petition filed by Hawkers’ Association representatives of Vizag in 2017 against the GVMC officials’ attempt to remove their shops even as they were given identification cards under the Street Vendors Act.

The court asked the GVMC to act in accordance with law and not to interfere in the business of the street vendors.

The GVMC officials, after the High Court judgment, issued notices under the Municipal Act and removed the roadside shops. The association filed a contempt petition against the then GVMC Commissioner, the Circle Inspector and the then MLA.

When the contempt petition came up for hearing before the bench of Justice B Devanand, the former GVMC Commissioner informed the court that the vendors had encroached the roads and the GVMC had removed their shops following the procedure.

However, the court said that the Street Vendors Act clearly states that a 30-day notice has to be served to remove the shops but no such notice was issued to remove the shops of the petitioners. The court said the officials have acted in a harsh manner while removing the encroachments of the petitioners