High court Orders to pay for encroached society land

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court has ordered the payment of compensation to the Kalyannagar Co-operative Housing Society Limited in Yousufguda, after a 50-year legal fight over its purchase of 38 acres of land which was later encroached by people with political support.

The court directed the principal secretary for municipal administration and urban development to determine and pay the compensation to the society within two months. Notably, the government had flouted several orders issued by the High Court on this land in the past.

The compensation should be calculated as per the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 for 38 acres and 2,121 square yards in Survey No.s 28/1 and 128/10 of Yousufguda village.
The calculation should be made as per the market value of the land as it existed on June 2, 2021, the court ruled.

As per the Act of 2013, the compensation to the acquired land in the urban areas will be five times of the present market value.

A division bench comprising Justice Ramachandra Rao and Justice Vinod Kumar issued the orders to the government as it had not implemented the court’s earlier directions to allot alternative land to the Kalyannagar Society in lieu of the land that had been encroached. The encroached land had been classified by the government as a ‘slum’ colony.

In 1989, the special court constituted under the AP Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act directed the government to allot alternative land to Kalyannagar Society. Then, the HC had also on several occasions since 1995 asked the government to allot alternative land or evict the encroachers but the orders were not implemented by the government.

The court observed that injustice was done and fraud was played on the Kalyannagar Society with encouragement from the then Congress MLA P. Janardhan Reddy and that the society was suffering since then with the prolonged legal battles.

Quoting from the Constitution that the concept of equity, justice and good conscience is integral to Indian law, the bench declared that the damage done to the society should be compensated.

The court also imposed costs of Rs 2 lakh on the state of Telangana, to be given to the Kalyannagar Society within eight weeks. The court also declared the notifications issued by the government designating the area as a slum was null and void ab initio.

As per the case, the Kalyannagar Co-operative Housing Society was registered as a co-operative society in 1963 with 350 members from the lower and middle class families. On 5.11.1964, the society purchased land from C. Rajya Lakshmi Devi and another individual, an extent of 34 acres and and 4,472 square yards.

In another sale deed, it purchased from A. Ramaswamy three acres and 2,489 square yards in Survey No. 128/1 and a part of Survey No. 128/10 of Yousufguda village.

On 1.3.1978, the director of town planning and the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) issued an approved layout to the society comprising 287 house plots in an area of 38. acres. However, the sale deeds could not be executed in favour of the members in view of the prohibition under the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 and the society was awaiting exemption from the provisions of the Act.

In the meantime, the land started being encroached ‘with help from’ (then) local MLA Janardhan Reddy. Even after the court issued injunction orders, the encroachers occupied the society land. With the help of the then, 503 huts were raised in the land belonging to the society. In 1988, the government deleted the land parcel from the excess holdings under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.

A land grab case had been lodged against 503 dwellers. The court declared them as encroachers and ordered that they be evicted. However, the orders were not implemented. In 1992, the then local body declared the area as a slum but no compensation was paid to the Kalyannagar Society.

In 1993, Janardhan Reddy, then minister for labour, employment and housing, gave a statement at a meeting chaired by him that the state government desired to retain the notified land. He promised to consider giving alternative land of equal value free of cost to the Kalyannagar Society and to maintain the status quo till then.

Contrary to this, later, slum area developmental works were done. Aggrieved by this, the society members approached the High Court. The case started getting shifted from one bench to another.

Though several orders were passed by the court from time to time, directing the respondents to explore the possibility of giving alternative land to the society, nothing came of it. Ultimately the state bluntly refused to grant anything to the society.

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