Defreeze Account, HC directs EDA

Hyderabad: A two-judge bench of Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Ujjwal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji, made it clear that an alternate remedy in itself is no bar for the High Court to entertain a writ petition. The bench allowed a writ plea filed by Pradeep Kumar and others challenging the action of the adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in freezing the bank account of the petitioner. They contended that the allegation made against the petitioners is wrong declaration of exports and diversion of imports of gold from the special economic zone (SEZ), Sri Krishna Exim. E. Venkata Siddhartha, counsel for the petitioner, further contended that the freezing order was not served upon the petitioners, who became aware of it only when they tried to operate their bank accounts for regular business operations. They contended that freezing of property under PMLA cannot be permitted beyond a period of 180 days, therefore, the statutory period of limitation of 180 days for retention has expired as regards continuation of the freeze order. The bench also observed that revenue intelligence had reason to believe that 10 kg of foreign market gold bar. The panel concluded by opining that the adjudicating authority had overlooked that on the date of passing the order, there was no scheduled offence against the petitioners. While there was no bar for the enforcement directorate (ED) to initiate proceedings against the petitioners under PMLA without there being any scheduled offence, the moment ED initiated the proceedings under PMLA, they could have shared the information with customs authorities. On the basis of such information, the customs authorities could have resorted to the steps required.

HC junks plea on land compensation

Justice S. Nanda of the Telangana High Court refused to set aside a compensation award made in November 2022 under the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. Possessors of 15 flats in Lakshmi Towers at Amberbet, Nallakunta, filed the writ petition challenging the acquisition of their dwelling areas for road widening purposes. It was contended that a proper notice was not given and the award is liable to be set aside. It was also contended that the award was without considering the various objections raised on the issue. They said that the award was contrary to the procedure made under the law. It was also alleged that of the 600 sq.yds only 543 sq.yds were calculated, and apportionment was only to the extent of 460 sq.yds. They contended that even according to the sanctioned plan, the net plot area was 541 sq. yds. Justice Nanda, however, pointed out that Section 64 of the Right to Fair Compensation Act provided a remedy to persons aggrieved by the award to the statutory authority. The court also relied on rulings of the apex court while dismissing the writ petition. However, liberty was given to the petitioner to approach the appropriate authority and raise all issues put before the statutory authority.

Student entitled to corrected answer script: HC

Justice S. Nanda of the Telangana High Court declared that every examinee “will have the right to access his evaluator answer books by either inspecting them or to take certified copies thereof unless the evaluated books are exempted under the Right to Information Act”. Justice Nanda was dealing with a writ petition filed by Mahnaz Khanam questioning the action of the state information commission (SIC) in dropping action on the failure of non-implementation of the Act. The petitioner sought her answer scripts in the examination conducted for the post of school assistant on the basis of a notification by the commissioner and director of school education. The petitioner filed an application under the RTI Act for her answer scripts. The same was disposed of stating that a printed copy of the scanned OMR sheet was given. Even the appellate authority refused to part with the same. Though the SIC directed the PIO to supply the said document, it was not done and strangely the complaint for non-compliance was closed. Allowing the writ petition, Justice Nanda rejected the plea of the commission that the petitioner did not apply “within the date prescribed”. The court recorded a finding that the said conclusion is factually incorrect. The court pointed out that the commissioner has, in fact, directed the supply of the order and said “An order once pronounced by the Commission shall be binding “. The court faulted the state information commissioner for closing the case without notice to the petitioner as also being contrary to regulations. The judge accordingly allowed the petitioner and directed the SIC to consider the issue afresh.

Court directs NMR regularisation

Justice Surepalli Nanda of the Telangana High directed Miryalaguda municipality to regularise the services of the petitioners and rejected the defense of lack of vacancies. Bixkam and others sought the court’s intervention to declare the inaction of the Miryalaguda municipality as unlawful, particularly considering the previous regularisation of nominal muster roll (NMR) employees in the municipality. The petitioners, who were initially appointed as NMRs in 1998, argued that they fulfilled the necessary conditions for regularization, as per the government orders. In response, the respondents contended that the petitioners were ineligible for regularisation, citing their appointment date and a purported lack of clear vacancies. However, upon closer examination, the court uncovered an admission by the respondents, acknowledging the requirement of completing five years of service by a specific date. To substantiate its decision, the court referred to the landmark Umadevi vs The State of Karnataka judgment, which recognised an exception for daily wagers, who had rendered service for a period of ten years or more in duly sanctioned posts. The court emphasized that a one-time regularization process should be undertaken by the concerned authorities. In her verdict, Justice Nanda directed the authorities to consider the claims of the petitioners afresh within a period of three weeks.

HC adjourns writ on electoral changes

A two-judge bench of the Telangana High Court adjourned a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking far-reaching changes to the Representation of People’s Act. The bench, comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji, was hearing a PIL by a party in person representing GITARDS (Gandhian Intuitive-Inclusive Thought and Act of Ambedkar for Real Development) which claimed that electoral reforms in the country are long overdue. The Chief Justice pointed out that the intent of the petitioner may be laudable, but the role of the court was restricted. The petitioner contended that such lacuna in the Act should be addressed at the earliest. The bench said that such prayer involving direction to the parliament is misconceived. However, the panel, without dismissing the petition, adjourned it for two weeks.

HC permits probe into trespass

Justice C.V. Bhaskar Reddy of the Telangana High Court permitted the police of Nallakunta to proceed with its investigation of a complaint lodged by a tahsildar against alleged encroachment of government land at Tilaknagar in the city. The judge was dealing with a writ petition filed by G.V. Shyam Rao, who alleged that the station house officer of Nallakunta police station was constantly harassing the petitioner by summoning him to the police station. The petitioner sought a direction that the police do not disturb him of his possession of his property near the Gandhi statue near Tilaknagar attached to the Sai Baba temple. The police pointed out that they were only acting on a complaint against him on encroaching government land. Justice Bhaskar Reddy directed for commencement of the investigation in accordance with the law.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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