Telangana HC serves notice to GHMC head for demolishing building amid lockdown
The Telangana High Court has issued contempt notices against Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner Lokesh Kumar as well as the Lower Tank Bund zonal commissioner for demolishing a building at the Tukaramgate in Secunderabad. The demolition took place despite a full bench of the High Court directing the civic body not to go ahead with any demolition activities until June 30 in light of the second wave of COVID-19.
In view of the pandemic, the court asked government authorities in a suo moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) not to take actions amounting to dispossession, or demolition of properties, or dislocation of persons already involved in disputes until June 30. However, the GHMC authorities went ahead with the demolition of the property at Tukaramgate owned by Suryasunkamalesh, Ashok Kumar and others, according to Deccan Chronicle. This property was not on the list of those acquired for road widening.
The court issued the contempt notices while dealing with a writ petition filed by S Suryabhan and S Ashok Kumar, who questioned the GHMC’s actions. Upon inquiry, the counsel for the land acquisition wing told the judge that they did not acquire the land, and so whether the land should be taken over or demolished should not be in question, reported Economic Times. However, the GHMC’s counsel contended that the land was already acquired by them and they would raze the property. The judge said that this statement of the GHMC’s counsel was “not right”.
On April 30, a full bench of the Telangana High Court comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli, Justices MS Ramachandra Rao and Rajashekhar Reddy had extended the life of all interim orders to June 30. This was done after an appeal was made by Telangana State Bar Council Chairman, regarding the hurdles that advocates were facing in attending courts due to COVID-19.
These included interim orders and directions or protections granted by the High Court, as well as any Family Court or Labour Court of any tribunal and other judicial or quasi-judicial forum, LiveLaw reported. The extension also applied to time for filing of written statements or return in any suit or pending proceedings before civil courts or other forums. It also extends to expiry of paroles granted, arrest of accused unless there is just cause, and orders of eviction, demolition etc passed by the High Court or any subordinate court.