HC vacates order on GO 208

Court satisfied with govt. explanation on money released under the order

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar received relief on Friday with the Telangana High Court vacating its earlier order issued nine days ago not to release any funds under GO (Routine) 208 towards ‘expenses for contempt of court cases faced by the CS’.

Observing that the court got clarification on the amounts of money sanctioned under GO 208, a bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy vacated its earlier direction issued after hearing a PIL petition on GO 208. The plea was filed by a lecturer and social activist Prabhakar Chouti seeking to declare GO 208 as illegal and arbitrary.

The petitioner contended that Telangana government issued GO 208 allocating ₹58.95 crore for the expenses to face contempt of court cases pending against Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar who also holds the posts of Revenue Secretary and Chief Commissioner of Land Administration. The GO was issued by Revenue department.

Mr. Prabhakar, in his petition, stated that Mr. Somesh Kumar was facing 181 contempt cases by virtue of two posts he was holding. By sanctioning ₹58.95 crore, the government allocated ₹32.57 lakh to each of such case faced by him, the lecturer said.

After hearing the PIL plea, the bench on August 4 instructed the government not to release any money under the GO. Within hours of the bench’s direction, the Chief Secretary filed an affidavit explaining that the money sanctioned was not meant for expenses to face contempt of court cases. The amount sanctioned under GO 208 was for payments in different land acquisition cases, the CS said in that affidavit.

Two days ago, the bench instructed the government to issue an addendum to GO 208 clarifying for what specific purpose the money was allocated. When the bench resumed hearing the matter on Friday, Advocate General B.S. Prasad explained to the bench that the amount was required to be disbursed as part of the executive proceedings in land acquisition original petitions pertaining to a PIL petition.

On hearing the AG’s explanation, the bench disposed of the petition permitting the government to release the money under the said GO.

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