Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Monday directed the Telangana state government not to exceed the limit of 50 per cent reservations for elections to panchayat raj institutions in the state. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil Bhaskaran Nair Radhakrishnan and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan while dealing with two petitions by Ms V. Swapna Reddy, a resident of Sangareddy district, and Mr A. Gopal Reddy from Nagarkurnool granted the interim order.
While reminding that the Supreme Court had ordered that the reservations for OBC, SC and ST candidates should not exceed 50 per cent, the bench said it would be not applicable to panchayats in the Scheduled Tribe areas. The petitioners sought to declare provisions of the Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 2018 under Sections 94 97 (e) 99 (a) 174 (a) and 171 (b) as unconstitutional contrary to the law laid down by the apex court. They asked the High Court to strike down the Act and set aside GO Rt No. 396 issued for the elections. Mr Vedula Srinivas, counsel for the petitioners, said that the apex court had ruled that reservations shall not exceed the 50 per cent for BC, SC and ST candidates in local bodies’ elections. The state government was providing 34 per cent reservations to BCs which would taken the overall reservations past the 50 per cent-mark in the state.
When the bench asked for the reasons for providing 34 per cent reservations for BCs, Mr A. Sanjeev Kumar, counsel for the government, replied that this was done in view of the earlier orders of the court and data available with the government. He informed the bench that a single judge had recently ordered the government not to conduct the elections to panchayat raj bodies without completing enumeration of BC voters. While admitting the petitions, the bench issued notices to the respondents directing them to file the counter affidavits.
HC takes up Mission Kakatiya case
The Hyderabad High Court has suo moto taken up a letter as a public interest litigation seeking action against irrigation department officials and contractors for claiming bills in the name of Mission Kakatiya Phases I and II for work which was completed from 2012 to 2015 in Ramaiahpalli and Rajapur villages of Peddapalli district.
Mr Kannuri Karnakar, a resident of Bhudavarampeta of Peddapalli district, had written to the Chief Justice stating that the repair works of the Titturlakunta tank, Vura cheruvu and Rajapur vura Cheruvu were completed under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme before 2015, and the bills paid. Recently the authorities with the collusion with contractors had again claimed more than Rs 70 lakh under the Mission Kakatiya.
He informed the Chief Justice that despite the orders of the deputy collector of Singareni that there was no necessity of further repairs for the three tanks, the authorities had claimed the bills. Mr Karunakar urged the Chief Justice to intervene in the matter and directed a probe through the CBI or the Vigilance department. The PIL Committee of the judges decided to take up the letter as a PIL and directed the registry to list the matter.