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The Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court today took the Andhra Pradesh government to task for its lackadaisical approach towards complying with a judicial order asking it to provide details on the number of Execution Applications (EAs) pending in land acquisition matters.
The Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan had by an order dated December 26, 2017, directed the state governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to file reports furnishing details as to the number of EA’s pending before District Courts, in matters pertaining to land acquisition.
The Court had also asked for the reports, which were required to be submitted today, in order to evaluate how much money was due to those who had been dispossessed by government action, and to ascertain a date by which the payments would be fully disbursed.
While the Telangana government submitted what the Court termed an incomplete report, the Andhra Pradesh government asked for a further two weeks to file the report.
At this point, Justice Ranganathan, who had earlier in the day alluded to the orders of the Court being made a mockery of in a different case, asked the government pleaders if they had filed an application seeking extension.
“You were directed to file a report. That was a judicial order. If you have not filed an extension application, this is a violation of the order”, observed Justice Ranganathan.
The fact that the number of EA’s pending before the subordinate judiciary was at worrisome levels was first brought to the notice of the Court by a letter written by then Principal District Judge of Mahbubnagar District, G Venkatakrishnaiah.
The letter was converted by the Court into a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The Bench comprising ACJ Ranganathan and Justice Ganga Rao stated in its order that the matter was urgent, given the number of EA’s filed in both states, which was adding to an already burgeoning list of pending matters.
The Bench also questioned the need for the governments to become embroiled in such a volume of litigation, given that the compensation to be paid had attained finality.
Both the state governments have now been ordered to file comprehensive reports detailing the number of cases being litigated in each district, the amount of money owed, budgetary allocations made, disbursements made to Collectors, and a date by which all matters will be settled.
The matter will be heard next on February 6. If the reports are not filed by then, the Court stated that the Chief Secretaries of both states would have to be present in person.