Hyderabad: A two-judge bench of the High court at Hyderabad, comprising acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice K Vijaya Lakshmi wondered how the Centre and the State governments could simultaneously issue different notifications for acquiring the same land for expanding National Highway to a four-way lane from Suryapet to Khammam.
The bench directed the Telangana government to stop acquiring land forthwith, refrain from passing any consent awards for payment of compensation and dispossession. The bench made the interim order in a public interest petition filed by Thalluri Venkateswara Rao of Kusumanchi village in Khammam district.
B Rachna Reddy, counsel for the petitioner, pointed out that when the poor farmers, most of them tribals from thandas and hamlets, were heaving a sigh of relief after their representation to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was yielding some positive response, Telangana issued two notifications for acquiring the same land citing the same public purpose, that is, expansion of NH.
She alleged that the State began its process of repeatedly coercing, threatening and terrorising ryots to sign ‘Consent forms’ and acquire the lands allegedly under such consents. Even the district collector had admitted in an RTI reply that he had no knowledge about the acquisition of the land and refered the matter to the NHAI, she added. Advocate General D Prakash Reddy justified the action of the government stating that it was interested in getting things done in a speedier manner.
The Centre had agreed to entrust the matter to us, but somewhere confusion prevailed, and hence the Centre’s notification had not yet been withdrawn, he said. He also hoped that the Centre would soon withdraw the notification to enable the State to go ahead. The bench, however, told the AG that it was the central law that prevailed and hence they have to withdraw the notification.
HCA gets time
The above bench granted time to the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) to respond to the affidavit filed by the Chief Executive Officer of BCCI, highlighting the deficiency in its functioning.
The bench adjourned further hearing on the matter to next Tuesday. The BCCI had urged the court to continue the Committee of Administrators (COA) namely, Justice Anil Dave (Supreme Court) and Justice GV Seethapathy (Hyderabad High Court) for some more time. The COA comprising retired judges was appointed to ensure that the HCA complied with the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee.
The COA said, by and large, its job was over. A public interest petition was filed by M Govind Reddy seeking reforms in the cricket administration by HCA. BCCI CEO Rahul Johri filed an affidavit seeking continuance of the COA.
He informed the court about the recent removal of president and secretary of HCA from their respective posts by Ombudsman. He said certain amendments were yet to be brought into effect and the COA had asked the HCA management to make those amendments.
In these circumstances, it was essential to continue the COA, Johri said. He pointed out that that the BCCI received complaints about the recent G Venkataswamy Memorial Telangana T20, which was conducted without the approval from the HCA general body meet.
Plea on ITC Paper Board
The same bench granted one more week to the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Telangana, to file its response to a writ plea dealing with permission granted to ITC Paper Board. The bench was dealing with a writ plea filed by the Save Earth Society against the Union of India and State of Telangana for not withdrawing the consent order for establishment order issued to the company.
The petitioner argued that the company had violated the directions of the Telangana State Pollution Control Board in the consent order. It also complained of the non-extension of wastewater disposal point to avoid contamination of the Godavari river flowing in the vicinity of Lord Rama Temple at Bhadrachalam in Khammam district.
Channel MD granted time
The bench granted time to the Managing Director of Sri Venkateshwara Bhakti Channel to file a report on the action taken against its former CEO AV Narasimha Rao for the alleged irregularities committed by him. The bench was dealing with a writ plea filed by P Naveen Kumar Reddy of Chittoor district alleging irregularities committed by Rao.