HYDERABAD: In a significant development, a division bench of the Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the state government not to demolish the existing Secretariat buildings until disposal of a batch of petitions filed against their demolition and construction of a new Secretariat complex in its place at Saifabad here.
The government cannot go ahead with its decision to demolish the subject buildings during the pendency of the issue before the court. Until and unless the high court gives its consent for demolition of the Secretariat buildings, the government cannot take up such work. If it does so, it would scuttle the judicial process, the bench noted.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, was passed this order on a batch of PILs filed separately by Congress MLA T Jeevan Reddy, advocate T Rajinikanth Reddy and the Forum for Good Governance, an NGO represented by its secretary M Padmanabha Reddy, who sought for the court to stay the shifting of offices of the Telangana Secretariat to other buildings, and demolition of the existing structures to construct new buildings in their place.
In the recent past, Congress MP A Revanth Reddy and Prof PL Vishweshwar Rao, vice-president of the Telangana Jana Samithi, filed the PILs challenging the impending demolition of the Secretariat buildings.
As soon as the court proceedings commenced for the day, senior counsel S Satyam Reddy, appearing for Congress leader and MLC T Jeevan Reddy, made a mention before the bench for an urgent hearing of the batch of PILs on the above issue. The bench said it would hear the PILs in the afternoon.
When the matter came up for hearing, state Advocate General BS Prasad informed the court that all offices in the existing Secretariat have been shifted to BRKR Bhavan and the ground was set to demolish the buildings to make way for a new Secretariat. It was a policy decision taken by the Telangana government, he noted, and urged the court to hear the PILs early so the government could take a call on the proposed demolition.
Reacting to the AG’s submission, the bench advised him to inform the government to continue its administrative work from the place to which the offices have been shifted. Some of the PILs on the issue were filed in 2016, and some in 2019. The matter was important to both the petitioners and the government, and the endeavour of the court would be to ensure that the petitions are adjudicated as early as possible, the bench said and posted the matter to October 14 for further hearing.