Hyderabad: A vacation bench of the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday refused to stay the interim order of a single judge that paved the way for dispossession of farmers of Gowliwada village from their lands for the construction of the Sundilla Barrage under the Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Scheme.
The bench comprising Justice Challa Kodandaram and Justice N Balayogi was hearing an appeal by farmers challenging the dismissal of their miscellaneous applications by a single judge, on a letter issued by the CCLA and allowing the district collector to enter into their lands, and also allowing construction of a pump house for Sundilla Barrage.
Ms. B. Rachana Reddy, counsel for the appellants, contended that the order of the single judge contradicted the order of the division bench that was passed on February 7, 2017. Counsel brought to the notice of the bench that, on the last working day before vacation, counsel for the Telangana government had urged the court to take up the matter for vacation of the stay, and the court refused to hear the stay petition as an urgent matter. This clearly indicated that the farmers could not have been dispossessed from their lands till further orders.
Counsel complained to the court that as the court refused to vacate the stay, the authorities used force to vacate the farmers.
J Ramachandra Rao, additional advocate general, argued that the appellants had suppressed facts and they had not approached the court with clean hands. Out of 119 farmers, 84 have received the compensation and a few farmers have been creating hurdles for the project with mala fide intention, he said.
The AAG said the Kaleswaram project has been taken up at a cost of more than a lakh crore. For the Sundilla barrage, the government had invested Rs 150crore so far, including funds for land acquisition.
Replying to a query, the AAG said the appellants’ lands were located in the middle of the project site. At present, the construction of a pump house was going on. While directing the registry to post the writ appeal along with main writs pending in this regard, the bench expressed its disinclination to stay the single judge order on the ground of “the balance of convenience in favour of the appellants and also not causing any irreparable loss to them.”