Telangana High Court on Friday passed an order staying the ongoing demolition of Secretariat buildings till Monday.

A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy announced the stay order after hearing the PIL petition filed by professor P.L. Vishweshwar Rao and Cherukuri Sudhakar alleging that due procedure of law was not being followed in demolition of the buildings.

The petitioners’ counsel Chikkudu Prabhakar contended that the State government ought to have complied with rule 4 (3) of the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules-2016 while demolishing the Secretariat buildings. But it did not do so and hence the demolition was illegal and needs to be stopped, he argued.

According to him, the rule says that waste generators should submit a waste management plan and obtain appropriate approvals from the local authority before construction or demolition of a building. In the Secretariat case, the local authority was the GHMC.

On hearing the counsel’s contentions, the CJ sought to know from the Advocate General B.S. Prasad whether the government followed the said rules. The AG replied that he was yet to get information on those two points. The bench observed that, in the backdrop of it being unclear whether the government prepared a plan and secured permission, prima facie the building demolition was in violation of the rule. Making this observation, the bench instructed the government to stop the demolition till Monday.

“Any citizen has a right to raise any questions challenging the action of the State if that person opines the State was violating the law,” the bench remarked. “Please do not continue demolition,” it said. The bench noted that it had understood from media reports that demolition of Secretariat buildings would be over in seven days.

Certain religious structures within the Secretariat complex were also damaged during demolition, the bench said.

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