Hyderabad: In what will surely come as a relief to the Telangana government, the High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the ongoing demolition of Secretariat buildings on the same day that the Supreme Court dismissed a special leave petition challenging the High Court order in a batch of writ petitions upholding the right of the state government to construct a new Secretariat.
Although both the courts have refused to come in the way of the state government’s plans to build a new Secretariat, a petition filed by the Congress MP, Revanth Reddy, challenging the ongoing demolition is pending before the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) Chennai Bench which had asked the counsel for the MP to appear before them after the High Court takes a decision in the case. That may be done on Monday. It remains to be seen whether the NGT will entertain the challenge given the apex court and High Court decisions.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy, after hearing the submission of assistant solicitor general that the ministry of environment, forest, and climate change (MoEF) has confirmed that there is no need to obtain environmental clearance before taking up the task of the demolition of the Secretariat complex, dismissed the writ petition filed by Prof. Vishweswar Rao and Cheruku Sudhakar.
The Bench had, on Thursday, directed the assistant solicitor general, N. Rajeshwar Rao, to check with the Central MoEF about the requirement of environmental clearance for the demolition. Mr. Rao received instructions from the ministry and reported the same to the court on Friday.
The counsel for the petitioners, Mr. Chikkudu Prabhakar, contended that demolition was also part of the construction and since the Secretariat was in close vicinity of Hussain Sagar lake, there was a need to obtain environmental clearance from the MoEF. The advocate general, B.S Prasad, rebutted this contention saying that it would be required at the stage of construction and not for demolition.
After clarifications from the MoEF, the Division Bench dismissed the writ petition and thus paved the way for the resumption of demolition works that had been stayed till Friday by the court.