By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday refused to stay the proposed public auction of government lands but clarified that the sale would be subject to its final order.

A division bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice Suresh Reddy was dealing with a PIL filed by activist and journalist Suresh Babu urging the court to prevent the e-auction of government lands during the ongoing lockdown. 

While directing the State government to file a counter-affidavit, the bench made some observations. “People of Andhra Pradesh are rich but the government appears to be in financial difficulties. Can’t it run government programmes without selling lands?” the bench wondered and questioned whether the government was on the brink of bankruptcy. 

“How justified is the government in seeking to sell lands of which it is supposed to be the custodian?” the bench asked and further remarked that the government must explore other avenues to generate revenue. 
Earlier, the petitioner’s advocate Narra Srinivasarao argued that the government was selling its lands on the one hand and buying lands for distribution of house sites on the other. 

He requested the court to cancel the government decision to sell lands belonging to the police department in Vizag and lands belonging to the labour department in Guntur. Additional advocate general P Sudhakar Reddy reminded the court that previous governments too had sold lands and rued that public interest litigations intended to protect public interest were being misused.

Interjecting, the petitioner’s lawyer submitted that a market place donated by a donor in Guntur was being sold. Responding, K Jagan Mohan Reddy, government special advocate, pointed out that there was no market there in the first place. After hearing arguments on both sides, the court deferred hearing to May 28.

PIL filed on TTD assets

BJP leader from Anantapur district J Amarnath on Tuesday filed a petition in the High Court urging the court to stop the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board from pressing ahead with the sale of the board’s assets. The public interest litigation may come up for hearing on Wednesday. TTD EO, principal secretary, Endowments Department and others have been made respondents.

HC notices to CS, Council Secy

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Chief Secretary, and the Legislative Council Secretary on a petition filed by TDP MLC Deepak Reddy seeking a directive to the Council Secretary to appoint a select committee as ordered by the Council Chairman to examine the three-capital bills. The court, however, refused to issue any interim orders, stating that the respondents will have to file counter-affidavits. Any orders will be issued only after they file their counters. The court deferred hearing on the matter to June 22.

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