Land disputes dominate the majority of appeals involving the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
Of 21 pending trials, the civic body is handling 14 of them pertaining to property disputes. These include encroachment on government land, land acquisition disputes, land grabbing, etc. Six other appeals to the Supreme Court involve service-related matters, mainly pay disputes.
Apart from these, the GHMC has also appealed against the National Green Tribunal’s 2019 order asking state governments to comply with the Solid Waste Management Rules – 2016.
The NGT had pulled up the state for not taking effective steps to implement the rules. The lack of response in terms of filing of counters from the state government’s side and lengthy gaps between hearings resulted in several delays in the trials.
The oldest case at Supreme Court dates back to 2009, which includes a special leave to appeal involving a land dispute. Information on the Supreme Court website shows that a significant number of land disputes involve Old City areas and mainly pertain to land acquisition and suburbs.
Sources said that while there are fixed rates for advocates who argue in civil courts and High Courts, when it comes to arguing a case in Supreme Court, the price is dictated by the lawyers, which ranges from 35,000 to several lakhs. Owing to this, there are instances when the government faces delays in some cases as lawyers fail to turn up for hearings. Other pending cases in the Supreme Court include PILs and property tax disputes.
“The corporation will help in filing counters, however, the cases pertaining to the Supreme Court are by and large handled by the government. We have taken cognisance of the pending cases and are reviewing the situation to file counters in a timely manner,” a senior GHMC official told TOI.
The GHMC has been plagued by over 21,000 pending cases across different courts. The issue came to light in December after the GHMC commissioner reviewed the pending cases and counters were eventually filed in over 5,000 long-pending cases.