Hyderabad: The initiative of a district judge in Telangana has given justice to scores of farmers and land owners in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh who had parted with their lands for a public purpose almost a decade ago. Both states will now have to pay the enhanced compensation of more than Rs 500 crore to scores of farmers within a year.
G. Venkata Krishnaiah, principal district judge of Mahabubnagar, had written a letter to the Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court on June 24, 2017 informing that a large number of Execution Petitions (EPs) are pending in the trial courts of the district and even though the district collectors have approached the concerned authorities in Hyderabad, there was no progress in release of funds except in a few cases. He said he has been trying to get the funds released since August 2016.
The district judge also stated that the landowners are deprived of their constitutional rights under Article 300-A of the Constitution, which is recognised by the Supreme Court as a human right.
After receiving the letter, the Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, realised that a similar situation would likely prevail in all districts of both states and placed the letter before the PIL Committee of Judges.
Justice Challa Kodandaram, a member of the PIL Committee, in his opinion endorsed that it is a fit case to be taken up as a PIL in view of the fact that only a few people who have influence and are close to someone in power, were able to get the compensation deposited in their cases by getting special GOs issued consequently.
Justice Kodandaram further felt that it would be proper to collect the EPs pending in all the districts of both states, and thus the High Court Registry collected the details and as per the information received from the district courts across both states, as many as 3, 032 cases were found to be pending for compensation in both states.
After obtaining the list of cases, the bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan heard the PIL and pulled up the Chief Secretaries of both states for the delay in releasing funds and cautioned that the court will stall all land acquisition proceedings if they do not come out with a time bound plan to pay the compensation to the land owners and farmers.
Though the court noted that there were 3,032 cases pending in both states, the Chief Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana informed the court that there were 2,596 cases - 918 in AP and 1669 in Telangana.
The Telangana Chief Secretary submitted that for the 1,669 cases pending in trial courts, Rs 457.79 crore would be paid by the government in the coming financial year, from April 1 to December 31, 2018.
The Chief Secretary of AP submitted that there are 918 compensation cases pending in the state till February 5, 2018 and RS 84.32 crore has to be paid as compensation in those cases and the government has already deposited Rs 2,155 crore in the courts and will pay the rest in three months time....