HYDERABAD:The High Court on Monday stayed the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority’s (HMDA) decision to give the land of the People’s Plaza on the Necklace Road to a private company on lease, terming it ‘unilateral’.
Justice A Rajasheker Reddy passed these interim orders on a petition filed by L Bharat Reddy, organiser of the Handloom Handicraft Fun-Fair. The petitioner questioned the ‘proceedings’ dated Jan 23 issued by the HMDA officials, working for the Buddha Purnima project, allotting the People’s Plaza ground from May 7 to June 12 to the Maha Utsav Mela.
The petitioner’s counsel argued his client had submitted an application to the HMDA seeking the land in question on lease and was ready to pay a rent of Rs one lakh per day. However, the HMDA officials ignored his application and allotted the land to the Maha Utsav Mela which offered to pay only Rs 51,000 per day, he explained.
HC on HMDA’s Leasing Policy
The standing counsel for the HMDA submitted that the special officer of the Buddha Purnima project had framed certain guidelines, in a circular dated May 20, 2007, fixing the rent at Rs 51,000 per day. “Whoever applies and deposits 50 per cent of the rent, their application would be considered. Basing on the same, the application of Maha Utsav Mela was considered,” he said.
According to him, a public notice too was issued calling for applications, but as there was no response, the application of the Utsav Mela was considered. After hearing both the parties, Justice Rajasheker Reddy felt that normally, the mode of grant of lease (of government properties) is tender-cum-public auction. “But it is not known, on what basis the HMDA had issued the circular dated May 20, 2007, as there is larger scope to the authorities to misuse the same”, he observed.
The judge said the Supreme Court and High Court had earlier held that allotment of leases of public properties should be by way of tender-cum-public auction. He wondered on what basis the rent of Rs 51,000 was fixed.
While staying the allotment of leasehold rights to Maha Utsav Mela, the judge declared that the procedure undertaken by the authorities was against the law.
He, however, made it clear that the stay would not come in the way of the authorities if they want to auction the leasehold rights afresh.