A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) cannot be converted into a political interest litigation, observed the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday dismissing a PIL filed by leader Chakilam Rajeshwar Rao challenging the acquirement of private land for construction of Collectorate complex in Suryapet district.
The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice V. Ramasubramanian.
Mr. Rao claimed in the PIL that he was a resident of Suryapet village, who engaged himself in agriculture as well as social services. But the Additional Advocate General J. Ramchandra Rao pointed out that Mr. Rao was an official spokesperson of a national political party. The Bench noted that the petitioner should have disclosed this fact. “The battles to be fought through ballots are not to be fought through pleadings,” the Bench observed in the order.
An MLA elected in 2014, who was recently expelled from the Assembly, had filed an interim application for impleading himself as party in the petition. “Therefore, the true nature of the PIL stands exposed,” the order stated. The petitioner said that Suryapet Collector had decided to acquire 25 acres of land for construction of the Collectorate complex at the rate of Rs. 18 lakh per acre. The Collector presented to the HC that the land was acquired before the petition was filed.
The counsel for the petitioner, L. Ravichander, argued that the 11th respondent, G. Prakash, was husband of local municipal chairman and was a partner of M/s Sri Sai Developers (the fifth respondent). He contended that the government chose to acquire private land, despite the availability of government land. The counsel presented to the Bench that Sri Sai Developers had prior information of the government’s moves and purchased part of the land to be acquired by the government hoping to make more money.
The Bench said that the creation of Suryapet district was announced 40 days after Sri Sai Developers purchased that land. Referring to the petitioner counsel’s contention that Sri Sai Developers appeared to be a shell company, the Bench said the matter was to be taken to the notice of a different government department.
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