Hyderabad: In utter disregard to the Supreme Court, a city-based builder Shanta Sriram Constructions has been carrying out civil works on a disputed land at the prime area of Banjara Hills in violation of a status quo order passed by the apex court. The builder has also been violating the Telangana High Court’s direction to maintain a status-quo in another case related to the same land.
The state government, which has been claiming the ownership of the same land worth at least Rs 200 crore, had obtained an order from the Supreme Court to maintain a status quo, following instructions from Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to protect government lands which he wanted to monetise for large-scale development works planned for the next few years.
The Supreme Court vacation bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari directed the parties to maintain the status quo in a Special Leave Petition filed by the state government on June 1.
While the legal heirs of Badam Rangaswamy were claiming ownership of two acres, situated near Bhagyanagar Studios on Road No 14, Banjara Hills, the revenue department contended that it is a government land as a nala also passed through the land. The private claimants have entered into a development agreement with Shanta Sriram Constructions.
When this correspondent visited the site on Thursday, ground levelling works were being carried out at a brisk pace with truckloads of debris were being dumped at the site. The builder had also erected blue sheets on one side of the land damaging the property of the neighbours as well as removing the approach road against which the affected parties approached the Telangana High Court on Wednesday and got status quo orders.
According to a senior Hyderabad district revenue official, the government’s ownership was confirmed by a City Civil Court in 1998. However, Justice G. Sridevi of the Telangana High Court passed an order on April 1 this year declaring the private claimants as the owners of the land. She observed that the government failed to prove its ownership, while the private persons established the same in their favour beyond doubt.
On the government’s contention that land abutting nalas belong to the government, the judge said the government recorded land as vacant government land and there was no mention of nala. Even if there was the nala, the land cannot be construed as government land. ‘Nala’ can mean anything through which water passes, she pointed out.
“We are making serious efforts to establish the government ownership in the apex court as land value is more than Rs 200 crore. It is equally important for the municipal and police to help us in protecting the land,” the district revenue official pointed out....