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Shock to Smitha Sabharwal, Court asks her to pay Rs 15 lakh to Govt

By:  Tupaki Desk   |   3 May 2022 5:05 AM GMT
Shock to Smitha Sabharwal, Court asks her to pay Rs 15 lakh to Govt
Telangana CMO principal secretary Smita Sabharwal was administered a shock by the Telangana High Court on the issue of using government money to fight a defamation case. The High Court said that Smitha Sabharwal should pay back within 90 days Rs 15 lakh that she took from the government to fight a personal case.

The case pertains to a report in weekly magazine Outlook, which reported Smitha Sabharwal taking part in a ramp walk in 2015. Smita filed a defamation case against the reporter and the magazine. For this, she requested the government to sanction Rs 14.90 lakh to fight the case. The government promptly sanctioned Rs 15 lakh to Smita Sabharwal.

The Outlook challenged the sanctioning of Rs 15 lakh on the ground that the event was a private one and that the defamation, if any, was personal and did not relate to the Government duties that she was discharging. Meanwhile, two social activists - Vatsala Vidya Sagar and Eswara Rao - also challenged the sanctioning of public money for private purposes of an IAS officer.

They contended that it was a private programme and the officer cannot claim money to fight defamation case. During the hearing, the government did not furnish any document claiming that she was fighting to save the prestige of the government. Also, as per Article 282 of the Constitution, she cannot claim money for private purposes.

The high court, which heard all sides, gave its verdict recently. It said that the case was personal and did not pertain to the government. It said the officer cannot claim money for fighting the defamation case. It wanted Smita Sabharwal to repay the whole amount of Rs 15 lakh within 90 days of the delivery of the verdict.