Telangana High Court halts constructions in FTLs of lakes

Deccan Chronicle.  | Vujjini Vamshidhara

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The court directed government to stop illegal constructions in FTL area of the lakes and police was told to extend protection to officials

Advocate S Sharat Kumar pointed out to the bench that the realtors in Telangana state are very powerful and facing them is to invite danger. — DC file photo

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the state government, the HMDA, the GHMC and all concerned departments to halt ongoing constructions and not permit new constructions within the notified full tank level (FTL) of the lakes spread across the state.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy stressed that this order should be followed by all officers. “This is the bounden duty of the government and state machinery. But as things go wrong, courts have to step into the shoes of the administration,” the bench ruled.

The court was adjudicating a batch of PILs and writ petitions filed by various NGOs, public-spirited individuals and those affected by illegal rampant constructions within the FTL area of various lakes. Among these lakes are the Ameenpur lake in Sangareddy and the Kundeti Kunta Cheruvu in Rangareddy district.

In the course of the hearing, Justice Kohli observed that if the government and its officials performed their legitimate duties as per the rule book, and are stern in their dealings, there would have been no cause for the petitioners to approach court. In the absence of firm action from officials, courts are getting flooded with petitions.

“Courts should be the last resort for an aggrieved person. But, in Telangana state, anything and everything is landing up before the court,” observed the CJ.

Government pleader for the revenue department, CV Bhaskar Reddy, requested the bench to pass directions to stop constructions in Ameenpur Cheruvu and other such areas in the Ranga Reddy district.

In response, Justice B Vijaysen Reddy asked the government as to how the government could seek an order from the court to the revenue and municipal authorities to stop illegal constructions, when it is the bounden duty of the officials to perform such a task.

Advocate S Sharat Kumar pointed out to the bench that the realtors in Telangana state are very powerful. Facing them is to invite danger and anyone who dared them faced dire consequences. Hence, a court order would be the best way forward.

The court directed the Telangana government to stop all such illegal constructions in the FTL area of the lakes and the police was directed to extend necessary protection to the municipal administration and revenue officials performing their legitimate duties in curtailing illegal constructions within the FTL.

CJ Kohli observed, "People are approaching courts in desperate conditions. When even most-innocuous matters are coming up as PILs, and as the state is expressing its inability to perform its legitimate duty, then this is not a happy occasion."