Uncertainty over Calvary Temple buildings
Deccan Chronicle.| N VAMSI SRINIVAS
The Calvary Temple management had approached a division bench of the High Court, challenging a single judge's order
Disposing of the writ appeal filed by the Calvary Temple on Tuesday last, the HC said the GHMC shall be free to proceed ahead in accordance with law. (Representational law/ DC)
Hyderabad: Uncertainty looms large over Calvary Temple, an evangelical church, in Hafeezpet, with the Telangana High Court clearing the decks for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation to take action against the alleged illegal structures following the due process of law.
The Calvary Temple management had approached a division bench of the High Court, challenging a single judge’s order directing the civic body to "remove and raze to the ground all illegal and unauthorised constructions," built by it. The HC had initially stayed the demolition.
Disposing of the writ appeal filed by the Calvary Temple on Tuesday last, the HC said the "GHMC shall be free to proceed ahead in accordance with law." It, however, did not go into other issues regarding the title and possession of the property.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior civic official told this newspaper that the Calvary Temple management took undue advantage of the stay order and went ahead with massive construction when the matter was pending before the court. "The law is clear that the stay order does not allow further construction," he pointed out.
On the Calvary Temple management trying to opt for regularisation of illegal structures, the official said the High Court had rejected its earlier attempts to compound its offence. Second, the area came under conservation zone as per the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority master plan, he added.
The Calvary Temple management which is known for its proximity to the family of a former chief minister in combined Andhra Pradesh was in the thick of controversy over the land where the structures were built. Hundreds of employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had formed a cooperative housing society and purchased 65 acres several decades ago in Survey No. 77 of Hafeezpet which is covered under CS 14 of 1958.
The state government which also claimed ownership of the land lost its case in the Supreme Court and decided to recognise the private ownership. However, several illegal transactions and registration of the property took place subsequently, forcing the HAL cooperative society to approach the High Court. The society alleged that the Calvary Temple built structures on the land belonging to it.
The High Court single judge in WP 38265 of 2012 ordered a field inspection by civic officials who in turn submitted a report to the court stating that the structures had come up illegally. The HC observed that the Calvary Temple never applied for building permission in accordance with Section 428 of HMC Act, mandatory before taking up any construction. On further actions of the Calvary Temple management, the HC observed that the former "has taken things for granted" and "taken law into his hands."
Further, the court observed that "obviously because of its (Calvary Temple) reach, it has assumed that none can deal with the default. This is totally unacceptable." The unauthorised and unlawful constructions deserve to be pulled down and shall not be allowed to be put to use, it said.