White ration cards: Telangana HC asks State to respond

Telangana HC

Hyderabad:  A two-judge panel of the Telangana High court, comprising Justice MS Ramachander and Justice Lakshman, pointedly asked the State government if deletion of White ration cards was after notice to the parties. The panel was dealing with a letter by one Srujana Amanaganti as a PIL.

The petitioner questioned the cancellation of distribution of Rs 1,500 to white ration cardholders who have not taken ration during January, February and March. He complained that this act of the government was arbitrary and would deprive more than 8 lakh such cardholders from financial assistance.

Advocate General BS Prasad pointed out that these steps were taken after conducting an informal survey to eradicate bogus cards. He said he would seek necessary instructions on the manner of the survey and the exclusion and inform the court. The panel will continue hearing the matter on Wednesday.

Disinfection tunnels

The panel while dealing with the question of safety to medical professionals treating Covid-19 patients enlarged the list to include the question of disinfection tunnels. As the writ pleas were against the backdrop of medical professionals being attacked, Advocate General BS Prasad informed the court that the government has taken steps for the safety of the doctors and in fact after filling of the PILs no such incidents have taken place.

An intervener application was filed by an individual contending that disinfection tunnels were dangerous and asked for their uninstallation. The panel posted the matter to May 26 for the government to respond.

Test at private hospitals

The panel also adjourned the PIL challenging the action of the government in not permitting private hospitals and diagnostic centres willing to conduct tests for COVID-19. The PIL argued that those who can afford private hospitals’ treatment should be given the option to opt out of government facility. The panel said the government cannot act as a communist party and stop individuals from going to private hospitals for treatment.

Rehabilitation sought

Residents of Kochaguttapally village in Chinnakodur mandal of Siddipet district approached the court alleging that the State government without paying any compensation or providing any rehabilitation took possession of their land. Counsel for petitioners B Rachna Reddy contended that due to such act the petitioners are living in the adverse conditions. The panel adjourned the matter by a day directing the Advocate General to get necessary instructions from the government on whether the payment was done as per the New Land Acquisition Act.

Relocating trees

The panel directed Vata Foundation to approach the Chief Conservator of Forest, District Forest Officer, GHMC and Deputy Commissioner of GHMC and volunteer in shifting 427 trees on NH 163. The panel accordingly disposed of a PIL through a letter written by a trustee of Vata Foundation. The trustee said the trees were mostly of Ficus variety which can be relocated.

However, he pointed out that the process of relocation was feasible during monsoon. The court directed to the Vata Foundation to approach the Chief Conservator of Forest, District Forest Officer, GHMC and Deputy Commissioner of GHMC by way of representation and also directed the authorities to dispose of the representation within a week.

Financial aid to journalist

The panel adjourned a PIL challenging the action of the government in not providing any financial assistance to journalists in the State as they are unable to meet day to day expenses during the lockdown. It will now hear the matter on June 2.

The PIL was filed by R Bhakser seeking directions to the government to provide masks, protection kits and sanitisers to journalists who were on duty. The panel granted time to the government to respond.

Refuses to interdict physical evaluation of Inter paper

The panel refused to interdict physical correction of Intermediate examination papers which started on Tuesday. The panel, however, adjourned the matter by three days for the government to respond.

It was dealing with a PIL filed by social activist K Omprakash from Siddipet who contended that physical evaluation would involve interaction of a huge number of evaluators. Multiple unknown sources would handle the paper leading to the spread of the virus.

The court said that life cannot come to a standstill and at a time when flights and trains are being operated, we, too, would have to come to terms with the reality.

The PIL also contended that the decision for spot valuation was unilaterally taken by the authorities without consulting the relevant Union and considering the safety of the evaluators.

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