The Telangana High Court has dismissed a petition filed by BRS leader T. Harish Rao challenging the allotment of five acres of land at Banjara Hills at Rs 8,500 per acre to Anand cine services by the then government in 2008. The government had issued GO Ms. No. 355, dated 21.08.2001, directing AP State Film, TV & Theatre Development Corporation Limited to allot the land parcel in survey No. 403 of Shaikpet, Golconda taluk, for the construction of an office and godown for equipment, parking and service facilities for the generator vehicles.

By letter dated 21.02.2002, further action in the matter was stopped by the government and the land remained with it. In 2008, vide GO Ms. No. 744, the instructions of the year 2002 were withdrawn and the corporation was directed to execute sale deed in favour of Anand cine services. The purpose of allotment in the GO was changed and the allottees were permitted to develop facilities for promotion of film and TV industry, such as dubbing theatres, editing rooms, graphics and animation studios and TV serials and preview theatres.

Challenging the two GOs, Harish Rao in 2008 approached the High Court stating that the land allotment was made at a throwaway price of RS 8,500 per acre, which was

unconscionable and without the Cabinet approval. He alleged that the allotment was neither made for any specified purpose nor was there any public purpose under the AP (Telangana Area) Alienation of State Lands and Land Revenue Rules. The petition was pending for 16 years and recently a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Anil Kumar Jukanti, issued orders dismissing the petition.

The court pointed out that the petitioner had challenged the land allotment after a lapse of seven years and no plausible explanation was forthcoming for the delay. The court said that the delay was a ground for refusing to exercise discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution. The court noted that the government had formulated a policy to provide incentives so that the film industry, which was operating from Chennai, could shift to Hyderabad and the land was allotted under that very policy. The court opined that the deviation from the normal mode of allotment had been made for a fair and just reason, which complied with the requirements of the Article 14 of the Constitution. Therefore, the order of allotment cannot be said to be in breach of Article 14 of the Constitution.

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