High Court Extends Stay Order On Construction Of New Secretariat

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Hyderabad: Telangana High Court extended stay on demolition of existing secretariat building for construction of a new complex till July 15 on Monday. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijayasen Reddy extended the stay as the state government had not submitted the copy of the resolution passed in the cabinet for demolition.

As per the court order, Advocate General B.S. Prasad submitted documents relating to permissions taken from different agencies for demolition. The court enquired about the resolution passed in the cabinet meeting. It questioned how the hearing can be taken up without the documents and pointed out that even a press release was not issued about the cabinet decision.

The Advocate General sought time till evening to submit the copy of the cabinet resolution. The court directed him to submit the same in a sealed cover and asked the petitioners to submit any objections to the government counter affidavit on Tuesday. The court on July 10 had temporarily stayed the demolition work till July 13. It passed the orders on the petition filed by Professor P.L. Vishweshwar Rao, Convener Telangana Democratic Forum and Vice President of Telangana Jana Samithi.

The petitioner complained that the demolition of 10 blocks of the Secretariat building occupying 10 lakh square feet was without following the procedure laid down under the Demolition and Construction Rules. He said that in the existing COVID-19 situation the demolition impacts and aggravates the respiratory problems of the people living in the surrounding areas of the building. The government started demolition of existing buildings of old secretariat on July 7.

Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had laid the foundation stone for the new secretariat on June 27 2019. Subsequently, secretariat was temporarily shifted to BRK Bhavan. The opposition parties, some heritage activists and concerned citizens had opposed the construction of new complex, terming it as uneconomical expenditure.

The High Court on June 29 dismissed petitions challenging the government’s decision to raze the old buildings and build a new complex in its place. The court ruled that building a new secretariat is a policy decision by the government and the court can’t interfere in the government authorities decision.

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