HC warns of contempt proceedings over Hill Fort Palace row
Deccan Chronicle.| Vujjini Vamshidhar
Telangana High Court (DC)
Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court pulled up the officials of the municipal administration, roads and buildings, and tourist departments on Monday for failing to make any progress in the restoration of the Hill Fort Palace, a heritage site, for three years.
The High Court's division bench, comprised of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji, issued a warning to the officials, including the MD of the Telangana State Travel and Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, that if they failed to provide a concrete action report on the durability and structural soundness of the Hill Fort palace, contempt proceedings would be brought against them. Chief Justice Bhuyan pointed out that the report had to be submitted by April 2. Otherwise, he warned all officers concerned would be required to appear in the court at 10.30 am and wait until 4.30 pm before facing contempt charges without issuing further notices.
On January 20 of this year, the state government had informed the court that the tests were being carried out from January 4 under the inspection of the Expert's Committee and supervision of the National Academy for the Construction (NAC), and that the reports would be submitted in three to four weeks. The court took note of it and adjourned the case until March 20.
Parsa Anantha Nageshwara Rao, the government's attorney, asked the court for an additional three weeks on Monday, claiming that the samples gathered for testing become jumbled. The court was upset by this explanation.
"It is bogus …we are not here to have fun. After two months, how could you claim that the samples got jumbled. Just five days before the listing of the case before the court, you (tourism department) have convened the virtual meeting and decided to take more time by saying something," the CJ remarked.
Further, the Chief Justice observed, "You are taking the court for granted. We are not here to summon the officers in every case. You are not carrying out your duties as a public trustee. Attending court proceedings is not the same as simply attending a conference or a meeting. Having a conversation over a cup of tea and leaving the court after an adjournment. The court is well-versed in dealing with such officials."