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Andhra Pradesh HC furious at Ippatam petitioners for concealing facts

VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday found fault with the manner in which some of the villagers of Ippatam secured interim stay on demolition of their houses by the municipal authorities by claiming that notices were not issued before taking up the demolition drive.

The court asked the petitioners to appear before it and explain as to why criminal contempt of court proceedings cannot be initiated against them.

The matter pertains to the issuance of notices by the Tadepalli municipal authorities on May 21 to some of the house owners in Ippatam for demolishing their houses, which came up on encroached land, for taking up road widening works.

Bellamkonda Venkata Narayana and 12 others approached the HC stating that the municipal authorities had demolished their houses without issuing any notices.

While hearing the petitions earlier, Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari issued interim orders staying the demolition of the houses and directed the municipal authorities not to take any coercive action. When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, counsels representing the municipal corporation M Manohar Reddy and G Naresh Kumar informed the court that notices were served personally to some and through post to others.

The counsels submitted an affidavit of the notices served on the petitioners as an evidence. When Justice Tilhari sought the response of the petitioners, counsel T Saisurya admitted before the court that notices were served by the authorities to take up demolition.

Expressing serious displeasure over the reply of the counsel, Justice Tilhari observed that the interim orders were issued only after the petitioners informed the court that no notices were served and the municipal authorities took up demolition in an unilateral manner.Justice Tilhari said the petitioners had secured the stay orders by informing the court that officials did not serve notices and this is nothing but getting relief by concealing the facts.

Observing that it is nothing but misusing the procedure of the court, Justice Tilhari asked as to why criminal contempt proceedings cannot be initiated against the petitioners and directed them to appear before it during the next hearing on November 24. The court also lifted the interim orders directing the authorities not to take coercive action.

Counsels representing the Tadepalli municipal corporation M Manohar Reddy and G Naresh Kumar informed the High Court that notices were served personally to some on May 21