Telangana High Court diary: Affidavit by Chief Secretary on CIC ‘as vague as can be’

The Chief Secretary claimed in her affidavit that the highest competent authority was actively considering the file pertaining to the appointment of the CIC and the ICs.
Telangana High Court
Telangana High Court

Affidavit by Chief Secretary on CIC ‘as vague as can be’

Describing the affidavit filed on behalf of the Chief Secretary ‘as vague as can be’, a bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N Tukaramji of the Telangana High Court on Tuesday sought information from the Advocate General or the Additional Advocate General on the actions taken by the State government to appoint the Chief Information Commissioner and the Information Commissioners to the State Information Commission in accordance with the RTI Act of 2005.

The Chief Secretary claimed in her affidavit that the highest competent authority was actively considering the file pertaining to the appointment of the CIC and the ICs. The proposal’s submission date, recipient, and filing stage were not specified anywhere in the affidavit, the CJ said.

Counsel for the government told the court that members of the SIC frequently address the litigants’ complaints. To this, the CJ asked counsel who would rule on a litigant’s appeals if the IC and CIC were not present.

“On April 21, 2022, the CIC retired, and the last IC retired on February 24, 2023. Since the top positions are vacant, the State should inform us of the deadline for CIC and IC appointments,” the CJ said.
The bench was hearing the PIL filed by the Forum for Good Governance, represented by its secretary M Padmanabha Reddy.

The petition claimed that since the retirements of the CIC and IC, the State has not taken any action to appoint the referenced individuals. There are several cases pending in the SIC, the petition said, and due to the vacancies, the complaints of the litigants are not being addressed, the petition said.The court will continue hearing the case on July 5.

HC asks State, Union govts to consider reserving PG medical seats for transgender

A bench of the Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N Tukaramji, on Tuesday, instructed the State and Union governments to consider reserving a NEET-2023 PG medical seat in any super speciality course for a transgender person under SC or OBC categories.

Koyyala Ruth John Paul had appealed to the court to establish specific guidelines for granting reservations to transgender people in line with the Supreme Court’s previous rulings. Appearing for the petitioner, advocate K Sagarika argued that transgender individuals are currently devoid of reservations in PG medicine, and it is imperative to rectify this situation by implementing the legislation outlined in the case of the National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India.

Sagarika reminded that the apex court has mandated the Union and State governments to recognise transgender individuals as members of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Citizens, thereby ensuring protection against discrimination in public employment and educational admissions. Hearing the arguments, the court acknowledged the petitioner’s claim and deferred the matter until July 20, 2023.

The bench urged the petitioner to approach the court if any difficulties arise in the interim period. The court emphasised the need for the State and Union governments to address the issue promptly and create a framework for providing reservations to transgender individuals in super speciality courses based on merit and the most beneficial category, either SC or OBC category.

3.5K sq yard at Begumpet belongs to private parties

The Telangana High Court has ruled that a 3,500 sq yd plot of vacant land adjacent to the Green Lands Government Guest House in Revenue Sy. No. 214/5 of Khairatabad village and Hyderabad Mandal, better known as Begumpet, belongs to Dr Chandra Rekha Vigg and others.

Since 1993, both the government and the private parties -- Dr Vigg and Rajesh Jain -- have been claiming the prime land at Begumpet, and the dispute has been in court. Recently, the private parties had approached the court, accusing the government of interfering with their peaceful possession and enjoyment of the land under dispute.

On Tuesday, three decades after the matter first went to court, Justice P Madhavi Devi of the Telangana High Court delivered her judgement after carefully reviewing the information to determine the land belongs to private individuals.

The judge explained that in order to determine that a private person is the title holder and possessor of the subject property, the court relied solely on findings made by lower courts that have been upheld by the High Court and as a result, the matter gained legal finality. The government was represented by the General Administration Department and Protocol Department.

Significant distinction between “law and order” and “public order”

Stating that a single offence has no influence on ensuring the maintenance of public order, a bench of the Telangana High Court comprising Justice K Lakshman and Justice P Sree Sudha on Tuesday set aside the orders issued under the PD Act by the Mahabubnagar District Magistrate and ordered the immediate release of four persons.

The detention orders, approved by the GAD Secretary led to Abdul Ahmed, Abdul Nawaz, Md Rahamath, and Shaik Asim being sent to the Cherlapally Central Prison. They were charged in connection with a land dispute between the complainant and the detainees.

The bench stated that there was no disagreement on the legal position that a detention order can be issued based on a single crime, but the detaining authority must assess the nature of the offence and how it was committed, as well as whether or not it disrupted public order. A detention order cannot be issued in a mechanical and regular manner, it said.

The bench added that the Supreme Court as well as the High Court have often held that there is a significant distinction between “law and order” and “public order.” Offences committed against a specific individual fall under the purview of “law and order” and when a person’s unlawful acts have a negative impact on the public at large is a person’s behaviour deemed to disturb “public order”, the bench said, adding that detention orders must be passed in the most unusual of circumstances.

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