Justice T Vinod Kumar of the Telangana High Court ruled that a defendant's passport cannot be held by the police. Such power vests, he repeated, only with the passport officer. In part, the judge allowed a written plea filed by a husband who is facing charges made by his wife under 498 A. When he was about to go to the US to work at a client site, his passport was seized in Bengaluru. The action to seize the passport was challenged as contrary to the provisions of the Passports Act. The State defended its action by stating that the police can seize the passport as a movable property and that it could not be deposited with the Magistrate due to the scenario of Covid-19.
The government also argued that inelegant attempts had been made by the petitioner to leave the country's shores. Justice Vinod Kumar pointed out that even if the Passport Officer is detained and put before the Judge, even the court is not allowed to enforce the passport, and that the Passport Officer can do so only under such conditions. "If the authorities are concerned that the petitioner is a flight risk case, the authorities may approach the Magistrate concerned for cancellation of bail or alteration of conditions," Justice Vinod Kumar said and issued instructions for depositing the petitioner before the Magistrate and on the merits of the petitioner, for consideration thereof. Where applicable, the prosecutor was left with the right to move to impound the passport.
Land acquisition challenged
A written petition challenging a notification released by the State Revenue Land Acquisition Department for the acquisition of land for the laying of road from the Hafeezpet Manjeera pipeline to KPHB Flyover was inconclusively heard by Justice Abhishek Reddy. A petition filed by Cherabuddi Rajashekar Reddy was dealt with by the court. The complainant argued that the notification was unconstitutional and in breach of the Rehabilitation and Relocation Act for Land Acquisition. He looked for instructions to put it aside. The judge ordered the Department of Land Acquisition to file a counter along with a map for proper adjudication.
Justice A Rajashekhar Reddy heard a written plea filed by TS Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Ltd seeking directions against the State Revenue & Endowment Department to grant the petitioner permission to acquire land belonging to the Sri Seetha Ramachandra Swamy Temple at Seetharampur in the RR district of Shabad Mandal for the construction of an industrial park. However the judge declared that the right to purchase land was at the discretion of the State and that the State may decide to do so by paying appropriate compensation. The problem has been adjourned to Tuesday.
Protection of temple lands
The PIL against the State Endowments Department and the Revenue Department, specifically the District Collector of Vikarabad, was heard by a two-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghavender Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, for not taking any action on the representation seeking protection of temple lands. A petition was submitted by Mestri Srinivas.
The petitioner told the court that he had made many representations requesting the authorities to protect lands in Sy No 161, 162, 177 and 179 of the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Devasthanam temple in the Antaram village of Tandur Mandal, Vikarabad district. No action was taken, however. He also sought guidance from the Sub-Registrar, Tandur, to register the lands listed. The case for filing counters by the State Revenue and Endowment Departments was adjourned by the panel until December 15.
A PIL filed by Saaketh Kasibhatla challenging the collection by the revenue authorities of Aadhaar number and caste data from non-agricultural property owners as violating the Aadhaar Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies Benefits and Services Act 2016 was heard by the same tribunal. On Tuesday, the subcommittee will hear the matter.