Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Monday set aside the TRS government's decision to demolish the 19th century Nizam-era Errum Manzil palace building here for construction of a new state legislature-cum-secretariat complex.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Shameem Akther allowed two public interest litigations (PIL) challenging the decision of the Telangana Cabinet to raze down the nearly 150-year-old heritage structure. The court had last month reserved its judgment.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had on June 27 laid the foundation stone for construction of the Rs 100 crore complex. Amid criticism of the proposal by opposition parties, Rao had said the legislative council building was situated at a distance from the assembly premises in the existing complex, making it difficult for the chief minister, ministers and others to shuttle between them.
Opposition parties have said the move to build a new complex was a waste of public money and asked the government to first focus on repairing buildings of state-run hospitals, social welfare hostels and other developmental programmes.
The bench allowed the PILs on the ground that the government has taken the decision to demolish Errum Manzil, built-in 1870 by Nawab Fakhr-ul-Mulk, with no regard to the fact that it was a heritage building. It held that the Cabinet decision was unsustainable in law. During the hearing of the PILs, counsel for one of the petitioners had argued that the Errum Manzil was notified as a heritage structure in the 2010 Master Plan.
The government, however, countered it, saying it had been subsequently deleted. PTI