HC takes exception to single judge order on Navaratnalu-Pedalandariki Illu scheme

The High Court on November 24 observed that the single judge order in Navaratnalu – Pedalandariki Illu scheme is affecting the women who have already benefited from the scheme by receiving house sites.

A division bench of the High Court said that the arguments of the beneficiaries should have been considered before passing the orders. On the assurance of advocate general that the state government is ready to allot house sites to men where no women are present in the family, the High Court directed the state government to file an additional affidavit and posted the matter for further hearing to Thursday.

After hearing about 128 petitioners who moved court alleging non-allotment of house sites to them under the scheme, the High Court had earlier directed the state government not to go ahead with any construction without there being an environmental impact assessment with an expert committee.

Challenging the single judge order, the state government moved High Court arguing that the single judge gave orders beyond the scope of the petitions as none of the petitioners pleaded for impact assessment. Arguing on behalf of the state government, the advocate general S Sriram said that the house sites were allotted to women in line with the Union government scheme of Pradhan Mantri Avaas Yojana. 

The advocate general further said many of the petitioners who moved High Court subsequently received house sites and in case of some others, the officials could not even locate them. As the state government has already spent about Rs 10,000 crore on house sites and Rs 1,800 crore for construction of houses, the scheme should be allowed to continue in order to prevent public money going waste.

Arguing on behalf of the petitioners, senior counsel VSR Anjaneyulu said the single judge heard the matter at length and gave a well thought-out judgement. He said that allotting house sites to only women is against the Constitution. 

The High Court bench comprising Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Justice B Krishna Mohan observed that as possession of house sites has already been given, the court should have made them parties and also heard their version before staying the scheme. 

Srikanth Aluri, TNN, Vijayawada

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