Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Saturday paved the way for construction of Sundilla Barrage under the Kaleswaram lift irrigation scheme by refusing to grant interim relief sought by the aggrieved farmers from Gowliwada village of Peddapally district. The farmers had asked the HC to restrain the authorities from interfering in their “peaceful enjoyment of agriculture patta lands”.
Justice Shameem Akhter was dismissing two interim applications moved by G. Venkat Reddy and five others alleging that the authorities were forcibly dispossessing them from their lands.
The petitioners also challenged the order passed by the Chief Commissioner, Land Administration on April 26, 2017 allowing the district collector to enter into their lands and taking up constriction activity.
B. Rachana Reddy, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the High Court had earlier ordered the authorities not to dispossess the farmers from their 241 acres till further orders. Despite the orders, the authorities were forcibly evicting the farmers and digging their lands with heavy machinery and issuing FIRs alleging that the farmers were obstructing construction of the pump house, Ms Reddy said.
S. Sharath Kumar, special counsel for the government, submitted that the petitioners were not the owners and possessors of the entire 240 acres. He said that no illegality was committed as alleged by the petitioners and said that the authorities followed due procedure under the Land Acquisition Act 2013. Mr Kumar said that award has been passed and `19 crore deposited and most of landowners have withdrawn the compensation.
The judge said, “No doubt, there is an order not to dispossess the petitioners and others from the subject land until further orders. In my considered opinion, the said order does not restrain the authorities from passing an award and taking possession of the lands in terms of Act 2013 and proceeding with the construction of the project.”
The judge observed: “The petitioners have not approached the court with clean hands. The main contention of the petitioners is that the respondent authorities are using police force and an FIR has been issued against some of the villagers, but the FIR is not subject matter of the miscellaneous petitions.”
The judge noted that since an award was passed and the compensation amount deposited and most of the landowners received the compensation, the contention of the petitioners that they are growing three crops and their lands are valuable lands, the rehabilitation measures are not being taken and if their lands are dug to level of stone, they would be put irreparable loss, do not find any merit and consideration at this stage.
The judge ruled that it cannot be held that the CCLA issued proceedings without competence and authority.
The judge noted that it cannot be said that the opinion given by the additional advocate-general and advocate-general was erroneous. The comparative loss was more to the state exchequer, he said.
While dismissing the petitions, the judge said that the petitioners were at liberty to agitate against the award under the Act 2013....