Hyderabad: Telangana High Court Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan on Wednesday informed that he would issue directions on the administrative side for magistrates to deal with applications for release of vehicles seized by the police during the lockdown period.
Earlier in the day when court proceedings started, an advocate sought to move a motion of urgency in this regard. When questioned as to why he did not move the appropriate magistrates under the Criminal Procedure Code, the advocate said that the magistrates were not taking up such cases.
The Chief Justice then said he would issue directions on the administrative side to ensure that such petitions were heard on merits by the appropriate court.
No hoardings at Panjagutta graveyard
A two-judge bench of the Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice RS Chauhan and Justice Abhishek Reddy, on Wednesday permitted the GHMC to proceed with the removal of hoardings at the Hindu graveyard at Punjagutta. The bench reasoned that public interest will override personal interest and that road widening at the busy centre was necessary to remove traffic bottlenecks.
Advocate General BS Prasad informed the court that the lockdown ensured the roads were empty and thus it was the appropriate time for the civic authorities to proceed with road widening. Durga Prasad, counsel for the petitioners, pointed out that they were willing to move to an alternative place and that in any event, the GHMC had not renewed the licence for the hoarding.
The petitioners were willing to shift but could not remove the hoardings as no labour was available due to the lockdown. The panel thus permitted the civic authorities to safely remove the hoardings without damage in the presence of the petitioners. The petitioners will be given police permission for such attendance at the site. The GHMC will keep in safe custody the material and dispose of the pending application for an alternative site within a week.
NGOs for food distribution
The above bench also asked for a report from the government on involving NGOs for proper distribution of food and other essentials to the needy during the lockout. The court, as reported earlier, has taken up a letter addressed to it as a writ plea in public interest.
While granting time to the government to respond, the bench also voiced the opinion that perhaps in these troubled times NGOs are best equipped to act in tandem with the government to ensure that food and other essential items reach the needy.
The above bench while dealing with the litigation about the oustees of the Kondapochamasagar reservoir directed the government to be ready with cheques of Rs 5 lakh at the next hearing on May 1 to be paid to farmers. The action of the authorities to take possession of the lands for the construction of the project in Mamidiyal village without disposing of objections and providing for rehabilitation is under challenge in the writ petition.
False report riles up bench
The bench strongly disapproved the manner in which a false report was placed before it by authorities in the matter of encroachments at the Pulikuntacheruve in Nirmal. A plea was filed by Naresh Reddy Chinolla against revenue and civic authorities for not taking necessary steps to stop the encroachment of the said lake and for directions to restore the lake to its FTL.
The court noticed that it has been over two months since the government was required to file a report and was not done till date. It directed the authorities to ensure that no illegal constructions and encroachments take place. The bench informed the Advocate General that it warns the officials to “not play with the court and give false information otherwise the said officials will be pulled up for contempt of court”.
Appointment of V-Cs
The panel extended the time by four weeks to the government in a matter relating to the appointment of Vice-Chancellors to the various universities in the state. Advocate PB Vijay Kumar had filed a writ plea challenging an order of the State government made in July 2019 appointing IAS Officers as in-charge Vice Chancellors.
He sought a consequential direction to the government to appoint Vice-Chancellors to the various universities in the State in accordance with the law.
Safety at procurement centres
The bench also granted time till May 15 to the government to respond to a suo moto writ plea on the question of providing masks, towels, handkerchiefs, water, soap and sanitisers to hamalis, farmers, workers working in paddy procurement centres across the State to prevent the spread the coronavirus.
According to figures stated in the matter, there are about 4,000 paddy procurement centres with around four lakh people involved in them, and likely to go on for the next 30 to 40 days.
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