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Telangana HC orders judicial probe into death of rape-murder accused

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The Telangana High Court on Friday ordered a judicial inquiry into the death of the accused in rape and murder of a six-year-old girl.

It directed the third metropolitan magistrate of Warangal to conduct an inquiry into death of Pallakonda Raju, who was found dead on railway tracks near Ghanpur station in Jangaon district on Thursday, and submit a report to the court in a sealed cover in four weeks.

The court gave the direction after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by State Civil Liberties Committee President G. Laxman, who expressed apprehensions that police killed Raju in its custody and projected it as a suicide.

Advocate General B.S. Prasad, however, submitted that it is a clear case of suicide and there are eight eyewitnesses to the incident. He said the police had recorded statements of the eye witnesses.

He also informed the court that the autopsy of Raju’s body was also videographed. The court directed that the video recording of autopsy be handed over to Warangal district judge.

Raju, 30, was found dead on the railway tracks in Jangaon on Thursday, a week after he sexually assaulted and killed the minor girl at his house in Singareni Colony in Saidabad area of Hyderabad.

The victim’s body was recovered from the house of Raju, who happened to be her neighbor, on the night of September 9.

The incident had triggered massive public outrage with some people and politicians, including a state minister, calling for killing the culprit in an “encounter”.

A massive manhunt was launched for Raju across the state. The police had also announced Rs 10 lakh reward for any information leading to his arrest.

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Telangana HC refuses to allow immersion of PoP idols in Hussain Sagar

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The Telangana High Court on Monday refused to modify its order banning immersion of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) in Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad.

The court dismissed the revision petition filed by the state government to allow immersion of PoP idols in the lake.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice T. Vinod Kumar made it clear that it cannot permit water pollution by allowing immersion of PoP idols.

“You created a situation of impossibility, now solve it. We cannot grant permission to people to pollute Hussain Sagar,” the bench said.

“We respect religious sentiments, but there is no scripture that says that we should only pray to Lord Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris,” remarked the bench.

It told the state government that if it doesn’t like its order, it can challenge the same before a higher court.

The bench also asked the authorities whether they implement laws or violate them.

The review petition was filed by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Commissioner Lokesh Kumar to allow the immersion of PoP idols in Hussain Sagar.

The municipal commissioner had also requested the high court to modify its order disallowing immersion of idols from the Tank Bund road.

The petitioner had mentioned that if immersion is not allowed from Tank Bund, it may take up to six days for the immersion of thousands of idols brought to the lake.

“The government has spent a large amount of taxpayers’ money to beautify Tank Bund. Will the immersion of Ganesha idols not cause damage to Tank Bund? Has the government not thought this through,” asked the bench.

Lokesh Kumar also wanted exemption from creating a rubber dam to confine immersion of idols in Hussain Sagar to a limited area. He assured the court that all the debris from the lake will be cleared within 24 hours after the immersion procession is completed.

The court expressed its surprise over the review petition and wanted to know why the government did not convey to it the difficulties in immersion of idols.

The high court, in its order dated September 9, had banned the immersion of PoP idols in Hussain Sagar.

The government on Sunday made an attempt to move a house motion but the court refused to entertain it and asked it to make the attempt on Monday instead. The court took up the hearing in the post-lunch session.

Animal Husbandry and Cinematography Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav had said on Sunday that by the time the high court delivers its decision on immersion of PoP idols, 35,000 Ganesh idols had already been installed at various locations in Hyderabad and it is not possible for the government to make alternative arrangements by constructing special ponds at such short time.

He said lakhs of people are likely to participate in the immersion procession across the city and all arrangements have been made for peaceful and safe immersion.

The government took the decision to move the review petition after an appeal by the Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi (BGUS).

The Samithi, which organises a mammoth immersion procession every year, had urged the government to file a review petition to ensure that ‘Hindu sentiments’ are protected and the festival is carried out in keeping with the traditions in place.

The BGUS had called the court order a violation of right to freedom of religion.

The court had pronounced its orders on a contempt petition filed by advocate Mamidi Venu Madhav for not implementing the court’s order in the writ petition filed by him seeking a direction to restrain people from immersing idols made of Plaster of Paris in Hussain Sagar lake.

The 10-day long Ganesh festival began on Friday. The festivities will conclude on September 19 with immersion.

Every year, thousands of idols are immersed in Hussain Sagar. Huge idols are brought to the lake in a mammoth processions which start from Balapur on the city’s outskirts.

NGOs, environmental activists and eminent citizens have been voicing concern over the pollution in the lake and demanding curbs on immersion.

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Telangana HC bans immersion of PoP idols in Hussain Sagar

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The Telangana High Court on Thursday directed authorities not to allow immersion of Ganesh idols made of Plaster of Paris in the Hussain Sagar lake here.

The court also imposed certain restrictions on immersion and asked authorities to build a rubber dam and take other necessary steps to check the pollution in the water body in the heart of the city.

A bench of acting Chief Justice M. S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice T. Vinod Kumar pronounced the orders reserved on Tuesday.

The court directed the government, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and the police to strictly follow its orders.

The bench pronounced orders on a contempt petition filed by advocate Mamidi Venu Madhav for not implementing the court’s orders in the writ petition filed by him seeking a direction to restrain people from immersing idols made of plaster of Paris in Hussain Sagar lake.

The court ordered that immersion of idols made of paris should not be allowed in Hussain Sagar lake. It said such idols may be immersed in special ponds created for the purpose.

The court said instead of allowing immersion in the entire lake, the authorities should build a rubber dam to confine it to a limited area and after the immersion, the debris should be cleared.

It directed the authorities not to allow immersion of idols from Tank Bund. The immersion can be allowed from other sides like PV Marg, Necklace Road and Sanjeevaiah Park road.

The court also asked the authorities to take steps to make sure that devotees from far-off places don’t come to Hussain Sagar for immersion. They were directed to encourage immersion of idols locally and observed that devotees can immerse small idols in buckets at their homes.

The authorities were directed not to encourage idols made of materials harmful to the environment. The court also made it clear that authorities should not allow installation of idols on roads which block vehicular traffic.

The court also imposed restrictions on cultural programmes during the festivities. It said use of loud speakers should not be allowed after 10 p.m.

The bench also wanted authorities to ensure adherence to Covid-19 protocol during festivities. The authorities were directed to ensure social distancing and wearing of masks.

The 10-day long Ganesh festival is beginning on Friday. The festivities will conclude on September 19 with immersion.

Every year hundreds of idols are immersed in Hussain Sagar. Huge idols are brought to the lake in a mammoth procession which starts from Balapur on the city outskirts.

NGOs, environmental activists and eminent citizens have been voicing concern over the pollution in the lake and demanding curbs on immersion.

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T’gana HC surprised over Rs 60 cr sanctioned to fight contempt cases

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The Telangana High Court on Wednesday expressed surprise over the state government sanctioning Rs 60 crore to fight contempt of court cases pending against state bureaucrats including Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.

Passing interim orders, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Vijaysen Reddy directed the state government not to release the money.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a lecturer against the government’s financial assistance to meet the legal expenses to fight contempt cases filed predominantly against Chief Commissioner of Land Administration (CCLA), a post held by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.

The court questioned how the government would spend the taxpayers’ money. It wanted to know what are the treasury norms and if they allow this financial assistance.

The High Court served notices to secretaries of finance and revenue departments, directors of treasury, CCLA and to Somesh Kumar in his personal capacity.

The court adjourned the hearing till October 27.

The chief secretary had on June 7 issued a Government Order (GO) sanctioning Rs 58,95,63,000 towards contempt cases pending in the High Court.

More than 250 contempt cases are reportedly pending against the bureaucrats.

The PIL has come up for hearing close on the heels of the High Court taking serious view of willful disobedience by bureaucrats. In some cases, court imposed fine on district collectors and sentenced few others to imprisonment.

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Telangana HC questions stoppage of ambulances from Andhra

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The Telangana High Court on Tuesday pulled up state authorities for stopping ambulances carrying Covid-19 patients from Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad.

The court took serious note of reports that Covid patients coming to Hyderabad for treatment were stopped at inter-state border and were turned away.

A division bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy questioned the authorities as to how can they stop ambulances when there are no restrictions on inter-state movement.

“Is this humanity,” the court asked. It wanted to know who gave the order to stop ambulances.

The court on Tuesday took up hearing of petitions relating to Covid situation in Telangana. Police commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda and commissioner of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) appeared before the court.

The court voiced its unhappiness over ineffective implementation of night curfew. The bench wondered if the state government plans to take further measures for Covid control after Ramzan.

It wanted to know why the gatherings at religious places were not being controlled.

The court expressed disappointment over the drop in number of Covid tests. It observed that while the court is directing for ramping up testing, the authorities are further cutting down on the numbers. It remarked that flouting court order is unfortunate and warned that officials may have to face contempt of court proceedings.

Advocate General Prasad informed the court that the state cabinet is meeting Tuesday afternoon to take decision on Covid control measures. The bench asked him to convey its concern to the cabinet.

The court asked the government to submit a report with details of all proposed Covid control measures. It adjourned the hearing till the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet meeting to be presided over by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will discuss that the surge in the Covid cases and take a decision on the imposition of lockdown in the State.

“There are reports that suggest that despite certain states imposing the lockdown there is no decrease in the number of cases. Against this backdrop, different opinions are emerging on the lockdown. Some sections are arguing in favour of the imposition of lockdown. Under these circumstances, the State cabinet would discuss the pros and cons and also the adverse impact the lockdown may have on the ongoing procurement of the Paddy and it will take a decision,” said Chief Minister’s Office on Monday.

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Telangana HC questions hasty probe into Devarayamjal lands

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Telangana High Court on Saturday questioned the hasty manner in which the state government had ordered probe into encroachment of endowment lands at Devarayamjal in Medchal-Malkajgiri district.

The court wanted to know why the government suddenly decided to probe when the problem was there for a long time. It remarked why there was swift response to this issue at a time when there is hardly any response to deaths occurring due to the Covid.

The high court also questioned the government’s move of forming a committee with four IAS officials to probe the land encroachments.

The court was hearing petitions challenging the Government Order (GO) constituting the committee.

The Advocate General submitted to the court that the committee has been constituted only for preliminary probe and after receipt of its report action will be initiated as per law.

The AG also informed the court that at this stage there will be no action like demolition.

The high court observed even for preliminary probe, notices have to be issued. It asked the committee to issue notices to those facing the allegations.

The court also made it clear that those facing the allegations should appear before the committee. It said the committee should submit its report after recording their statements.

The court directed that the lands of the petitioners should not be interfered with. It asked the endowments department to file a counter affidavit with all the details.

The state government on May 3 appointed a Committee of Officers headed by Panchayat Raj and Rural Development commissioner M Raghunandan Rao to probe into the alleged encroachment of endowment lands belonging to Sri Seetha Rama Swamy temple at Devaryamjal village.

Other members of the Committee of Officers are Nalgonda district Collector Prashanth Jeevan Patil, Mancherial district Collector Bharathi Holikeri and Medchal Malkajgiri district collector Swetha Mohanty.

There are allegations that former Minister Eatala Rajender and other individuals have occupied a large portion of over 1,521 acres belonging to the temple worth more than Rs 1,000 crore.

The committee was constituted soon after Rajender was dropped from the state cabinet on allegations of encroaching farmers’ lands in Medak district.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had on April 30 ordered the probe into allegations of encroachment of farmers’ lands. Preliminary investigation by Medak district collector found that 66 acres of land was encroached for the minister’s poultry farm.

Rajender, however, denied the allegations and called the probe a witch-hunt.

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Etela lands issue: TS Govt gets a shocker in High Court!

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The Telangana High Court on Tuesday (today) took TRS government to task over conducting ‘jet speed inquiry’ against former minister Etala Rajender over allegations of encroaching assigned lands by Jamuna Hatcheries, owned by family members of Etala.

The High Court issued interim orders not to take any coercive action against Etala based on the report submitted by Medak collector Harish that the company encroached 66 acres lands.

The court adjourned the case to July 6. The court stated that the Medak collector’s report was ‘invalid’ as the survey of lands was done without issuing notices to land owners or adjacent land owners.

Etala’s wife and son, Jamuna and Nitin Reddy filed a petition in the High Court stating that officials from revenue, vigilance, ACB, survey departments created a war like situation on their lands, barged into their premises to conduct survey without issuing any notices, as per norms. It asked where was such a hurry to complete survey within hours and submit a report.

They said the entire 177 acres survey was done within hours and submitted a report that Jamuna Hatcheries had encroached 66 acres.

They said Medak collector gave a report to government stating Jamuna as wife of Nitin Reddy, which itself shows how the collector was under presssure from goverment to submit report at jet speed even without verifying the facts.

The court rapped officials for violating the natural principles of justice.

It asked the government to do inquiry from the front door and not adopt back door methods.

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Curfew or lockdown? Decide in 48 hours: TS High Court orders KCR govt!

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The Telangana High Court on Monday (today) directed the Telangana state government to take a decision within 48 hours whether it will impose curfew or lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus in Telangana.

The High Court expressed severe concern over the increasing corona cases in Telangana.

The High Court also expressed anger at the state government not imposing restrictions on hotels, pubs, bars, theatres etc despite the increase in corona cases.

The advocate general informed High Court that the state government will soon take a decision on imposing restrictions in Telangana.

The High Court expressed severe anger at this questioning, “People are already losing their lives due to corona. How much time the government needs to take a decision on this. When you will take a decision?”

The court also questioned whether earning income is important for the government by permitting all things or the lives of people.

The court directed the state government to take a decision within 48 hours and posted the case for further hearing to April 22.

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HC refuses to stay GHMC polls

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The Telangana High Court on Monday refused to stay the upcoming GHMC elections.

Hearing public interest litigation filed by Congress leader D Sravan, the High Court observed that the petition was filed at a time the state election commission was making all preparations to hold the elections.

In his petition, the Congress leader contended that the GHMC polls will have to be held after rotation of reservation.

He brought to the notice of the court that the BC reservations were being implemented against the Supreme Court’s order and people from politically backward classes were not being recognized. While disposing of the case, the High Court questioned why the petitioner did not file a petition earlier if he really cared for the welfare of backward classes.

On November 11, the High Court had served a notice to the state government on its two-child policy in the GHMC polls. Petitioners Sridhar Babu Ravi and Mohammed Taher appealed to the court to declare Section 21 B of the GHMC Act, 1955 arbitrary and unconstitutional. Under the GHMC Act, 1955, the government issued a notification disqualifying candidates to enter the poll fray if the candidate has more than two children born after May 1955.

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HC issues notice to centre, state on religious structures demolition

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The Telangana High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Union Government, State Government, Waqf Board and the Commissioner Endowments on a petition seeking re-building of the religious places, situated within the Telangana State Secretariat building, that were allegedly torn down during the demolition of the building.

Hearing a petition by High Court advocate Khaja Aijazuddin, the court on Wednesday asked the Assistant Solicitor General of India and Advocate General of Telangana to file their counter-affidavits in the matter by October 1, 2020. The matter has now been listed for hearing on October 8, 2020.

The petitioner alleged that the two mosques and one temple, situated within the Secretariat building were damaged during the demolition process without complying with mandatory norms.

In his plea, the petitioner contended that the temple too was demolished without compliance of the Endowments Act and the same was violated resulting in the demolition of the temple. He also argued that it is incumbent upon the government to rebuild the structures at the same place where they previously stood.

The High Court found fault with the state government in not following that mandatory compliance of the provisions of Waqf Act 1995 while demolishing the mosques.

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HC pulls up KCR govt over irregularities in Niloufer Hospital

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The Telangana High Court on Thursday pulled up the KCR government on why no action was initiated against the contractor over misappropriation of public funds in Niloufer Hospital.

The court directed the state government to thoroughly investigate the food scam and misappropriation of public funds in Niloufer Hospital by the contractor.

The contractor K Suresh Babu was found to be submitting inflated bills in connivance with the hospital management. According to earlier reports, the contractor supplied a high-protein diet as against normal food to patients. A panel was set up to probe into the food and diet supply and payments to the contractors.

The committee found that the scam was wide-spread in government hospitals. The panel found that the contractor submitted invoices showing supply of high-protein diet to 95 percent of children in Niloufer Hospital.

Hearing a petition, the High Court turned its ire against the government questioning why it had failed to take action five months after the committee had submitted a report on the scam.

The court questioned why the government was shielding the contractor. The contractor also supplies food in Gandhi Hospital and Government Chest Hospital. The court directed the government to investigate the matter thoroughly and submit a detailed report by August 16.

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Covid-19 patients dying due to lack of oxygen: HC pulls up CS

Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar has finally appeared before the High Court on Tuesday to give the government’s explanation on the Covid-19 situation and measures being initiated in the combat against the pandemic.

The Telangana High Court expressed displeasure over the state government for not implementing its directions in handling the COVID-19 crisis.

Hearing a batch of petitions filed by Professor P L Vishweshwar Rao and others on the number of coronavirus tests being conducted in the state, medical infrastructure and release of health bulletins, the High Court asked the chief secretary on why the government was not testing enough.

The court lambasted the state’s healthcare system and hit out at chief secretary and health Secretary asking whether both knew patients were dying due to lack of oxygen facilities at various hospitals. “Is the state government even aware of the hard fact that patients at the hospitals are dying because of lack of oxygen facilities? How does the government prepare itself to tackle this problem of oxygen facilities? At least 38 Covid-19 patients died due to lack of oxygen facilities?”It is distressing to know that patients admitted the hospitals are dying due to lack of oxygen facilities, which indicates a complete lack of critical care,” observed the court.

The court expressed anguish over the alarming rise in Corona positive cases in the state and fatalities, even in remote parts of Telangana. The court questioned the CS the measures being initiated in rural hinterlands of the state to combat the pandemic. “The positive cases are on an alarming rise. What measures have been initiated by the state government to contain and prevent the spread of the virus,” the court fumed at the Chief Secretary and the Health Secretary.

The court questioned why the government was not providing all details in the COVID-19 cases daily bulletin. “We intend to know why the government has failed to implement our orders. Why complete information is not being released in health bulletins,” the court questioned the Chief Secretary. Further, the court questioned why action should not be taken over non-compliance of its earlier directions.

The court expressed dissatisfaction over a report filed by the state government on COVID-19 tests being conducted in the state. Further, the two-bench judges comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, questioned why the government was not testing enough compared to other states and directed the Chief Secretary to submit a detailed report on the same. The court also sought to know why detailed information with regard to coronavirus cases being put out by the government was not being made available to the public. The court also sought to know from the CS if Covid-19 tests were being conducted in Gandhi Hospital.

Further, the court also asked why the government was not releasing daily health bulletins despite orders to the government to do so. On his part, the Chief Secretary informed the High Court that the state government has conducted 3.5 lakh tests as per the ICMR guidelines. The Chief Secretary also told the court that the government had declared 1,085 containment zones in Hyderabad.

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Telangana HC stays Secretariat demolition till July 15

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The Telangana High Court on Monday directed the KCR government to halt the demolition of the old Secretariat building in Saifabad until further notice.

Hearing a petition filed by retired professor P L Visheshwar Rao, the High Court directed the Telangana government to stop the demolition works till July 15. Further, the court has asked the state government to submit a report in a sealed cover on the Cabinet decision to demolish the old Secretariat building.

On its part, the AG had submitted all the required clearances and permissions it had received from different sanctioning authorities to demolish the building.

The petitioner, through his counsel, submitted to the court that he will file a counter to the government’s arguments. The court has posted the next hearing on the issue to July 15.

On July, 10, the High Court put brakes to the demolition of the old Secretariat building. The petitioner had earlier argued that the building was being demolished in violation of Covid-19 regulations.

The petitioner also contended that the demolition has led to air pollution at a time the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are seeing an alarming rise in Covid-19 cases. Such demolition has led to severe breathing problems for the residents in Saifabad area.

Hearing the petitioner, the HC had directed the state government to stop all demolition works until further notice and asked the government to submit a report on what safety measures were initiated while carrying out the demolition activity.

Already, 60 percent of the old Secretariat building, spread over 25.5 acres with 10 blocks, which began in the early hours of June 7 had been razed to the ground.

Almost all the 10 blocks of the building had already been razed to ground, including the Saifabad Palace which was built in 1888 in European style by Mir Osman Ali Khan, seventh Nizam and the last ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State. The Saifabad Palace once the seat of Nizam’s Prime Minister till Hyderabad”s accession with the Indian Union in 1948.

The G-Block, also known as Sarvahitha from where N T Rama Rao discharged his duties as chief minister was also demolished. The C-Block and the H Block which served as the offices of former CMs Marri Channa Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu respectively were razed to the ground.

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Teenmar Mallana faces HC wrath over Mandamus petition on KCR

The Telangana High Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition which sought to know the whereabouts and health condition of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Naveen alias Teenmar Mallana had filed a Mandamus writ petition arguing that the people of the state were concerned about the Chief Minister’s health and that it is the duty of the administration to tell the public where KCR is. The petitioner raised concerns over the CM’s health in the wake of 30 employees of Pragathi Bhavan testing Covid-19 positive. Thereafter, the CM had moved out of Pragathi Bhavan to his farm house in Gajwel.

The petitioner also pointed out that the Chief Minister had failed to discharge his duties ever since he had left Pragathi Bhavan.

A furious High Court warned the petitioner not to play political gimmicks by filing such pleas. Further, it had asked the petitioner to file habeas corpus petition.

Earlier, State Congress leaders Uttam Kumar Reddy and Jeevan Reddy too had raised similar doubts over the health of the Chief Minister and accused KCR of “hiding” in his farm house at a time the state was going through severe financial and health crisis due to the pandemic.

Congress leader Revanth Reddy demanded that the health ministry release a bulletin on the health condition of KCR. The Chief Minister’s ‘disappearance’ comes in the wake of a growing number of his colleagues tested positive for the infection, including Home Minister Mahamood Ali and three legislators

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Mandamus petition filed in Telangana HC over KCR’s health

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Doubts are being raised over the health condition of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar after several employees of Pragathi Bhavan, the official residence of KCR, were tested positive for coronavirus.

On Wednesday, a Mandamus petition was filed in the Telangana High Court expressing concern over the health of the Chief Minister. The petitioner, Naveen alias Mass Mallanna, sought to know through the court the health condition of the CM.

In his petition, Naveen stated that more than 30 employees of Pragathi Bhavan, including security personnel and outsourcing staff, contracted the virus over the last two weeks. Further, the petitioner cited that social media was abuzz with the news that the Chief Minister had moved to his Gajwel farm house along with his family members after Covid-19 entered his official residence ‘Pragathi Bhavan’. The petitioner also pointed out that the Chief Minister had failed to discharge his duties ever since he had left Pragathi Bhavan. Further, he contended that officials of various departments too are shying away from their duties taking advantage of the Chief Minister’s absence.

The petitioner stated that the Chief Minister worked relentlessly to contain the spread of the pandemic in Telangana. He was active in holding daily press briefings over the Covid-19 situation in the state. Further, on June 28, the Chief Minister held a high-level review meeting on the PV Centenary celebrations at Pragathi Bhavan. The CM had also announced that Telangana will observe year-long centenary celebrations of former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao.

Calling K Chandrasekhar Rao as the champion of Telangana state cause, the petitioner stated that the Chief Minister’s health is a cause for worry for the people of Telangana. “The people of Telangana are worried over the health of the Chief Minister. It is the right of the people of Telangana to know the health condition of their beloved Chief Minister.

Citing all these factors, the petitioner filed a Mandamus petition. A Mandamus petition is a court order issued by a judge at a petitioner’s request compelling someone to execute a duty that they are legally obligated to complete.

Earlier, Congress leader Revanth Reddy had also raised doubts over the health of the Chief Minister and accused KCR of “hiding” in his farm house at a time the state was going through severe financial and health crisis due to the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown no signs of letting up in Telangana which has witnessed an alarming rise in the number of positive cases. The state had been reporting more than 1,500 cases each day. The pandemic has entered all the government offices and several employees were tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the government to shut the government offices.

Even legislators had contracted the virus. Telangana Home minister Mahamood Ali was tested positive for Covid-19 although he was discharged from a private hospital after he recovered. Three MLAs, including Jagan legislator Muthireddy Yadagiri Reddy, Nizamabad Rural and Urban MLAs Bajireddy Govardhan and Ganesh Gupta were tested positive for coronavirus

The Mandamus petition assumes significance in this backdrop.

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Telangana HC serves notices to private hospitals overcharging Covid-19 patients

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With growing complaints of private hospitals overcharging patients suffering from Covid-19, the Telangana High Court served notices on prominent private hospitals in Hyderabad.

Hearing a petition on Tuesday, the High Court on Tuesday slapped notices on Yashoda, Care, Medicover, Sunshine Hospitals among others. The petitioner argued that the private hospitals were fleecing the patients and sought cost regulation for treatment of COVID-19 patients at private hospitals.

The Telangana government had already capped the treatment cost of corona patients in private hospitals. Costs for corona treatment in the private hospitals were capped at Rs 4,000 per day for general treatment, Rs 7,500 for treatment in Intensive Care Unit-ICU without a ventilator and Rs 9,000 for ICU treatment with a ventilator. However, the petitioner contended that several private hospitals are violating the government’s directive and overcharging the Covid-19 patients.

On May 20, the Telangana High Court had directed the state government to allow private hospitals and diagnostic laboratories to conduct Covid-19 tests. The court also found fault with the government’s order that Covid-19 tests should be conducted only at state-run hospitals and termed this as undemocratic.

The Telangana government had earlier denied permission to private labs and hospitals to deal with COVID-19 cases on the ground that they would fleece people. However, the High Court termed the KCR government’s decision to disallow private hospitals from treating corona patients as unconstitutional.

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HC pulls up ‘T’ on corona testing, medical gear

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With the swell of new coronavirus cases continuing in Telangana amid growing criticism over low testing, the High Court on Wednesday pulled up the state government directing it to submit a detailed report by July 17.

Hearing a petition on lack of medical gear for the frontline warriors and low testing, the High Court questioned the AG on how many PPE, N95 masks and other equipment were provided to the doctors and medical health workers in the combat against Covid-19. The Telangana High Court directed the State government to inform the court by July 17 as to how many PPE kits, N-95 masks and gloves were so far given to the doctors, nurses and paramedical staff involved in treating Coronavirus-affected people.

The petitioner argued that the KCR government has failed to supply the required number of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and other protective gears to the doctors and other medical staff despite the court directions. The court had also taken note of the low COVID-19 testing rates in the state. The High Court questioned the state government on how many tests were conducted and how many samples were taken during a month’s period between May 23 to June 23.

The court also asked the KCR government to increase corona testing by using Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) in view of rise in Covid-19 cases in the state. Further, the court also directed the government to submit a report on the efforts initiated to trace primary and secondary contacts of the infected people. It also warned that if the state government fails to submit a detailed report by July 17, it will be forced to summon the Chief Secretary, Principal Health Secretary and Public Health Director for not following its earlier orders. The court warned that the CS, Principal Health Secretary, Public Health Director and health commissioner will have to personally appear before it on July 20 if it finds the government’s report unsatisfactory.

This is the second time that the state government had to face the ire of the High Court. Earlier in May, the High Court directed the government to inform the court as to how doctors and medical staff working in government hospitals tested positive for Covid-19 though the government has claimed that it has provided PPE kits, N-95 masks and gloves to them.

In April, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had claimed there was adequate stockpile of PPEs, N95 masks, gloves and other medical gear for the frontline warriors even as an increasing number of doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, police personnel and health workers contracted the virus. However, the Telangana High Court hearing a petition in May had pulled up the KCR government over acute shortage of medical equipment. “How could the frontline warriors contract the virus if the government supplied medical equipment to combat the pandemic,” the court wondered.

Telangana has been reporting three-digit growth in corona cases. The state health department had confirmed 945 new cases of COVID-19 in Telangana in the last 24 hours, raising the state’s total number of confirmed coronavirus infections to 16,339. Of the 945 new cases, a whopping 869 positive cases were reported in GHMC limits. After the reopening of the economy, the coronavirus spread has been alarming with higher positive-test cases and increasingly strained hospitals. In the last 24 hours, seven succumbed to Covid-19 taking the total fatalities to 260.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Telangana HC says no to SSC exams in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Ranga Reddy

Ending a month long suspense over the SSC examinations, the Telanagana High Court on Saturday directed the KCR government to conduct the examinations in all the districts barring Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Ranga Reddy districts in view of high incidence of corona cases in these three districts.

On May 18, the Telangana High Court gave a green signal for the conduct of the SSC examinations in the State from June 8, but suggested that certain measures have to be initiated by the government. However, in view of the alarming rise in corona cases in Telangana, a petition was filed in the High Court with an appeal to direct the State government to emulate the Punjab grading system.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Sai Mani Varun of Ranga Reddy district seeking the cancellation of the SSC exams in the interest of the students’ health, the High Court on Saturday directed the Telangana government to hold the examinations in all the districts of the state from June 8 except the three districts. The petitioner also contended that the Telangana government should emulate the Punjab government which had cancelled the class 10 exams and decided that students will be promoted based on their performance in pre-Board exams. The petitioner appealed to the High Court to direct the Telangana government to adopt the Punjab grading system model in view of the COVID-19 situation in Telangana.

Earlier in the day, the Telangana High Court pulled the KCR government if the lives of the students were more important than conducting SSC examinations.

Hearing a petition on conducting SSC exams, the High Court asked the AG why the Telangana government cannot explore the possibility of emulating the grading system adopted by Punjab. Further, the High Court had asked the Telangana government to conduct SSC examinations in all the districts barring Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy which have reported a surge of Covid-19 cases over the last one month or so.

To this, the AG informed the High Court that it is nearly impossible to hold the examinations at separate dates in different districts. It will be difficult to set the question papers for different districts. Advocate General B S Prasad argued that the state government had initiated all the necessary steps taken to conduct the SSC exams between June 8 and July 5. The government had procured thermal screening kits, masks and gloves and more than 4,000 medical staff were appointed. To this the High Court had asked the AG if the lives of the students were more important than the technical problems that the government is likely to face in conducting the SSC exams at different dates in different districts.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

HC pulls up Telangana govt over death of pregnant girl, her newborn

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The Telangana High Court on Monday took a serious note of the tragic death of a pregnant girl from Jogulamba Gadwal district who was denied treatment and made to run from hospital to hospital as she hailed from Covid-19 containment area.

The court took suo moto notice of a letter written by a lawyer. Through the letter, the advocate argued that the pregnant girl 20-year-old Jenila and her new-born died as they did not get treatment at the right time. In the letter, the advocate placed the facts of the case before the court. The advocate contended that the pregnant woman had to go through a traumatic experience of being referred to six different hosptials and was forced to travel 200 kms. He contended that the doctors were too scared to admit without conducting Covid-19 tests.

She was first taken to Gadwal District Hospital after she complained of labour pains, but was referred to another hospital. After waiting for more than an hour for an ambulance, her husband Mahendra shifted his wife to Mahabubnagar Government Hospital. Doctors at the government hospital referred her to Koti Government Maternity Hospital as she was found to be anaemic with high blood pressure. At the Koti Government Maternity Hospital, doctors asked her to first get Covid-19 tests as she hailed from a containment area in Jogulamba Gadwal district. Jenila was taken to the Gandhi Hospital for Covid-19 tests. The tests showed Jenila negative for the tests. She was later admitted to Petlaburj Maternity Hospital for delivery and gave birth to a baby boy who was shifted to Niloufer Hospital where he died during treatment. As Jenila’s condition turned critical, she was admitted to the Osmania General Hospital where she died.

The heart-rending story moved the High Court and pulled up the state government for not taking non-Covid-19 cases seriously. The court ordered the state government to ensure that the ambulances are available to non-Covid 19 patients and admit pregnant women and other emergency cases without causing any kind of inconvienence to them.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Telangana HC seeks report on measures in Hyderabad containment zones, pulls up police

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Expressing concern over the high concentration of corona positive persons under the GHMC limits, the Telangana High Court on Friday sought a report from the state government on the measures being initiated in Hyderabad where the number of containment zones is high.

Hearing a batch of petitions filed by various individuals via video-conferencing, the HC directed the Hyderabad police department to exercise restraint in dealing with the general public during the complete lockdown. The court sought a detailed report from DGP Mahender Reddy on the reports of excesses by the police personnel on the people while enforcing the lockdown regulations.

The High Court directed the government to submit by April 24 on the testing facilities and the gamut of measures the government had initiated to contain the spread of the virus in the State, especially in Hyderabad as city has the highest number of containment zones.

A total of 135 containment zones have been demarcated in the city based on positive cases, which have been barricaded to prevent contact between those inside with outsiders.

Health Minister Etela Rajender in a recent press meet attributed the high numbers to the Tablighi Jamaat attendees and their secondary contacts. The health minister said that 640 of 700 so far tested positive for Covid-19 in the state are attendees of Tablighi Jamaat conclave in Delhi and their contacts. Barring 50-60, all others found infected were returnees from Markaz in Nizamuddin, their family members and contacts, he said.

On Friday, IT & MAUD minister directed the ministers and officials concerned to strictly enforce the lockdown regulations in all the corona cluster containment zones. With more than 135 containment zones in Hyderabad limits, KTR seems to leave nothing to chance. With the lockdown entering the second phase, KTR asked the officials to intensify screening in clusters of the virus around the city and put in place restrictions, even harsher than the lockdown, which would stop the virus from spreading beyond containment zones.

K T Rama Rao directed the officials to ensure that not a single individual steps out of their residences and barricade all the colonies in the containment zones so that people stay indoors. Further, he asked the officials to ensure doorstep delivery of essentials such as groceries, milk and vegetables, arguably the biggest reason why people are forced to leave the relative safety of their homes.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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