GUNTUR/AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice Mallavolu Satyanarayana Murthy in his verdict delivered late on Friday night (October 8th) stalled the AP Housing scheme. The AP High Court was responding on a batch of writ petitions challenging the process of allotment of house sites and construction of houses for the poor under the Pedalandariki Illu scheme. The reasons stated in his judgment were that the scheme violated several articles of the Constitution and Human Rights, the allotments were made only to women beneficiaries, the size and facilities in the housing sites were as per housing rules, etc, and ordered that all construction activity in the sites be stopped.
The YS Jagan-led government has decided to allot lands worth Rs 7,000 crore to 31 lakh people and build colonies that are similar to gated communities. The allotment of land was completed and in the first phase, the construction of 15.6 lakh houses had commenced. Now what was baffling was that many of the petitions were filed without their knowledge.
The batch of petitions was filed by one Podili Shivamurali of Tenali in Guntur District along with another 128 people. The people of Tenali were shocked to know about the petitions filed in their names, after they got the news from the newspapers and media, that such petitions were filed. Some of them approached Sakshi newspaper and said that their names figured in the petitions even though they had not filed them. Shocking facts had come to the fore after conducting an inquiry.
The main petitioner (number 1) Podili Sivamurali stated that they had nothing to do with this petition. My wife was allotted a site in Nelapadu and sanctions to build a house were given by the present government and we have started construction of our house. Why would we file a case and stall the construction in the first place, he asked.
This has led to many questions as to who filed the petition in his name, who are behind this conspiracy, and what would they gain out of this. Sivamurali is not the only one, another petitioner named Gopi who claimed to have filed one affidavit also has the same thing to say. "Six years ago, a man took Rs 5,000 from each of us to get us a house site. He also took our Aadhaar and ration cards and took our signatures and disappeared. Knowing that he had been deceived, he was unable to file a case with the police. “ When I could not approach the police, how can I file a case in the court? '' Gopi asked.
Sheikh Nayab Rasool and Sheikh Mabula, who were named as the 14th and 15th petitioners have moved to another city for employment. When Sakshi spoke to them over the phone, they also had the same tale as Gopi’s. "Four years ago, I gave Rs 25,000 to a man named MS Rao for a housing site and also gave my identification certificates," Nayab said. Mabula said that he paid Rs 40,000 to the same person. "The government has given us a house in the name of our wives, why should we file a case? '', they asked.
Several petitioners approached Sakshi and after talking to all of them, one thing had become clear. Almost all the petitioners are not related to this and in fact, they all have been the victims of brokers during the TDP regime. Five and a half years ago, they had paid money ranging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 40,000 for getting house sites and many people gave their Aadhaar cards, ration cards and also signed on various documents for this purpose.
In Kothapeta, Marisupeta, and CBN colonies in Tenali, a broker fleeced the poor in the name of housing sites. Neither did they get their money back nor did they get the sites. As years passed they forgot about the whole episode. But now they are shocked to see their names as petitioners. Gundimeda Gopi from Chinnaravur, Park Road, Shanamsetti Vani from Marisupeta, and Chaini Subhashini of CBN Colony in Tenali also stated that they have nothing to do with these petitions and were victims of brokers who promised land during the TDP regime.
The whole exercise of filing these petitions seems to be the handiwork of few people who are doing things in conjunction and support of some vested interests.
CV Mohan Reddy, a senior advocate stated that the Government should bring this matter to the notice of the court in its appeal. Filing petitions without the knowledge of the petitioners is equal to cheating the court, he said. Another senior advocate, Sarva Satyanarayana stated that if the petitioner says that he has nothing to do with the petition then something must have happened without their knowledge. The petitioners must have been deceived and their signatures misused. Who took their signatures? Who is the advocate on record who filed the case on their behalf? Are the signatures of the petitioners correct or forged? All this needs to be investigated. Filing a petition without the consent of the petitioners is cheating the court. If all the petitioners come together and state in an affidavit that they are not involved in the case, the actual judgment will not be enforceable, he asserted.