Monday, July 22, 2024

Telangana High Court Rules in Favor of Housing Board Employees After 25-Year Legal Battle for Plots

In a significant legal triumph lasting a quarter-century, 320 employees of the Telangana Housing Board have emerged victorious in their dispute with the state government over house plots. The Telangana High Court, on Friday, dismissed the contentions of the government and the housing board, instructing them to register plots for all the allottees within four months upon receipt of the specified payment.

The court also nullified Government Order (GO) 32, which had restrained genuine allottees, and set aside the order of a single judge that limited the benefits to a select number of employees.

The case originated from a housing scheme introduced by the housing board in 1979 for the allotment of house plots. In 1986, 320 board employees were allocated plots covering an area of 70,000 square yards, according to the notification.

Litigation ensued in 2006 when the state opted to convert these plots into flats. All the allottees filed a series of writ petitions challenging this decision. A single judge partially granted relief by restricting plot registration to only 107 employees who had paid the enhanced amount in full.

Dissatisfied with the single judge’s ruling, both the state and the housing board filed an appeal. Additionally, appeals were lodged by the 213 allottees who were denied benefits due to non-payment of the entire enhanced amount.

Senior counsel D Prakash Reddy, representing some allottees, argued that converting the land into flats after individual allotments was impermissible. He contended that the state government’s decision was arbitrary and contrary to the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee.

In defense, the state’s special counsel, Harender Pershad, asserted that the decision was driven by the diminishing availability of land and the necessity to satisfy other stakeholders.

In authoring the bench’s order, Justice NV Shravan Kumar faulted the state for withholding benefits from the allottees and directed the government to transfer the plots to the employees.

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