HYDERABAD: In a huge relief to the Telangana government, the state High Court on Monday accorded green signal to the government for construction of new state Secretariat buildings. The Court dismissed the batch petitions filed against the demolition of existing state Secretariat buildings complex situated at Saifabad in the city. "We do not find any irregularity in the cabinet decision to demolish the Secretariat", the Court observed while dismissing five PILs filed challenging the cabinet decision to demolish and construct new buildings in its place.
The Court dismissed the petitions filed separately in 2016 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, seeking the court to grant stay for shifting the offices of Telangana Secretariat to other buildings and demolition of existing structures and to construct new buildings in its place. Last year, Congress MP A Revanth Reddy and Prof PL Vishweshwar Rao, vice-president of Telangana Jana Samithi, also filed the PILs challenging the impending demolition of Secretariat buildings. The petitioners contended that no material was taken into consideration while taking a decision by the state cabinet on June 18 last year to demolish the existing Secretariat buildings.
When senior advocate S Satyam Reddy, appearing for Jeevan Reddy, urged the court to keep this judgment in abeyance for four months so as to enable him to challenge this order before the Supreme Court, the Court while rejecting the senior advocate's plea, said that he can very well approach the Apex Court as it is also hearing urgent cases through video conferencing.
During the course of hearing earlier, the government told the court that it has not taken any further step in finalisation of building plans of the proposed complex as the matter is subjudice in the Court. An amount of Rs 300 to Rs 400 crores is required for the proposed new buildings. The area allotted to all the 32 departments which were functioning in the Secretariat complex prior to their vacating the said building is 4.45 lakh square feet, and that the areas to be allotted to various departments will be finalised after finalisation of designs of the proposed complex.
On Feb 12 this year, the bench directed the state government not to disturb the existing Secretariat buildings until further orders of the court. Till the final decision is taken by the cabinet regarding final design of the new secretariat and related issues, the present secretariat should not be disturbed or demolished.
After concluding the arguments on March 6, the Court reserved its judgment in the case.
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