HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Saturday sentenced the Ranga Reddy collector, the top conservator of forests and four senior officials to undergo six months imprisonment for disregarding its directions.
Taking a serious view of the officials not taking action on its order in a case for 12 years, the High Court sentenced the special chief secretary, forests; principal chief conservator of forests (head of forest forces, HOFF); chief wildlife warden; Ranga Reddy collector; additional collector; and the divisional forest officer of the district. The court also imposed fines of Rs 2,000 on each of the officers.
Justice T. Amarnath Goud was dealing with a contempt case filed in 2015, in which the petitioners sought punishment against the officials for wilful disobedience of the court orders issued in 2009.
Regarding a 383-acre parcel of land in Survey No. 222 of Maheshwaram village of Ranga Reddy, the High Court had issued orders on December 4,2009, to finalise the issue relating to the acquisition of the land for the purpose of conversion into reserve forest, within a period of six months.
Some of the landowners, whose names were recorded since 1954 in Khasra Pahani revenue records, had requested the government to allot land-to-land compensation on an exchange basis (muviza). The request was denied as the affidavit was reflecting that the compensation of around Rs 1.15 crore was worked out for the acquisition of the land parcel. This was not challenged by the revenue or forest authorities since then.
However, when the contempt case was filed, the authorities took a stand that the land belonged to Kancha and they submitted the records of the Sethwar of the year 1932. With that, they submitted that the contempt case shall be dismissed.
But, Justice Amarnath Goud asked why the issue was not raised when the writ was filed or why the appeal had not been filed against the orders issued in 2009. Deciding it was clearly contempt of court, Justice Goud convicted the officials under the provisions of Contempt of the Court Act....