HYDERABAD: Taking a serious view of deliberate violation of an earlier order of the court, Justice MS Ramachandra Rao of the Telangana High Court on Monday sentenced the executive engineer and superintendent engineer of the irrigation department, a project manager, and sub-inspector of the Thogutta police station in Medak district to two months simple imprisonment.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 each, payable within six weeks, and ordered for an adverse entry in the officials’ service records. The judge passed the orders in two contempt cases — filed by Asharla Balavva and five others, and P Laxmi and three others — seeking action against the authorities for violating the court’s order that restrained them from taking possession of the subjects’ lands, acquired under the Mallanna Sagar reservoir, until the package benefits under the Land Acquisition Act 2013 were given to the affected families. The reservoir was part of the Kaleshwaram project.
The affected families’ counsels said the department authorities, with support from the local police sub-inspector (SI), resorted to coercive steps to dispossess the petitioners from their land without giving them resettlement benefits. The irrigation officials and private contractors threatened the landowners and labourers with dire consequences if they did not let the officials enter their lands, which were acquired to construct the Mallanna Sagar Reservoir, they added.
After hearing the submissions of the petitioners’ counsels and perusing the material on record, Justice Ramachandra Rao found executive engineer G Badrinarayana, of the irrigation department, and project manager B Srinivasa Reddy, of Raghava Constructions, guilty of contempt and sentenced them to two months simple imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2,000 each, and adverse entry in their service records.
In another contempt case filed by P Laxmi and others, the judge found superintendent engineer T Venu, of the irrigation department, and sub-inspector S Srinivas Reddy, of Thogutta police station, guilty of contempt and sentenced them to two months simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 each, and adverse entry in their service records.
While allowing the contempt cases, the judge suspended the above sentence for six weeks to enable the contemnors to explore their legal remedies on the said order.