Telangana HC rejects Harish’s plea questioning allotment of land to film industry

Additionally, Harish sought an investigation into the land allotment process and accountability for any malpractices.
Telangana High Court
Telangana High Court(File photo)

HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Friday dismissed a plea filed by former minister T Harish Rao seeking to invalidate two GOs issued by the government of undivided Andhra Pradesh related to allotment of land for film industry infrastructure.

In his petition, Harish Rao challenged GO 744, dated December 26, 2008, and GO 335, dated August 21, 2001, issued by the General Administration (I&PR) Department. He argued that these orders, which facilitated the allotment of five acres of land in Shaikpet village to Anand Cine Services, were arbitrary, unreasonable, and violated the AP (Telangana Area) State Lands and Land Revenue Rules, 1975, and Article 14 of the Constitution. Additionally, Harish sought an investigation into the land allotment process and accountability for any malpractices.

GO 335 directed the AP State Film, TV & Theatre Development Corporation Limited (APSFTDC) to allot the land at a nominal rate of Rs 8,500 per acre for constructing facilities for film and TV industry professionals. This order was initially halted by a letter in 2002 but later reinstated by GO 744 in 2008, directing APSFTDC to execute the sale deed in favour of Anand Cine Services.

Senior counsel Gandra Mohan Rao, representing Harish, argued that the allotment was made without proper project proposals or Cabinet approval and at an unconscionably low price.

The Special Government Pleader, defending the orders, stated that the government had adopted a policy in 1982 to promote the film industry, which included multiple land allotments to various film entities at the same rate. The SGP provided a historical context of similar allotments to entities like Padmalaya Studios and Suresh Productions Pvt Ltd to emphasise the consistency in the policy to develop film infrastructure.

After a detailed hearing, the court concluded that Harish’s challenge to the 2001 order came after a significant delay of seven years, without a satisfactory explanation. Citing the principle against encouraging stale claims, the court held that the petition was not viable for consideration under Article 226 of the Constitution.

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