A division bench comprising justices K K Sasidharan and P Velmurugan said it ordered their appearance only to apprise the chief secretary and others about the sorry state of affairs wherein government officials were not carrying out orders of the high court.
The contempt petition was filed by A B Somu and 11 others seeking action against officials concerned for their failure to implement an earlier court order directing re-conveyance of their land in Koyambedu here acquired by the government for the wholesale vegetable and fruits market.
The high court ordered the re-conveyance of the land as it had not been utilised for the purpose for which it was acquired. The order was later upheld by the Supreme Court.
However, the authorities did not reconvey the land following which the contempt plea was filed.
Holding that the contempt petition was a "classic example" of how the state was flouting court orders, the bench had yesterday asked the chief secretary and others to appear before it.
The then Housing and Urban Development Secretary, Dharmendra Pratap Yadav, incumbent S Krishnan and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority Member-Secretary Vijaya Rajkumar were the other officials who appeared before the bench today.
Justice Sasidharan asked the chief secretary whether she was aware of contempt petitions against government officials filed in the court.
She said in the present petition the land acquired for the market project had been put to use for construction of other government buildings.
She said the land of similar value would be provided to the petitioners in alternative places.
The bench then directed the chief Secretary to file an affidavit with regard to allotment of alternative land and adjourned the matter.
During earlier hearing, the bench warned that such non-compliance of a judicial order which was confirmed by the apex court would lead to litigants banking on extra constitutional authorities to redress their grievances rather that approaching courts.