7 July 2023 11:26 AM GMT
The Telangana High Court has upheld the allotment of land by State to Film Director N. Shankar for setting up of a technical film studio at a nominal consideration, saying it was just and proper and warrants no interference.The division bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji pronounced its decision on Friday on a plea challenging a 2019 order of Municipal...
The Telangana High Court has upheld the allotment of land by State to Film Director N. Shankar for setting up of a technical film studio at a nominal consideration, saying it was just and proper and warrants no interference.
The division bench of Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice N. Tukaramji pronounced its decision on Friday on a plea challenging a 2019 order of Municipal Administration Urban Development Department, wherein 5 acres of government land at Mokilla Village, Shankarpalli, Ranga Reddy District were allotted to Shankar, a renowned Film Director in south India, for the setting-up a technical film studio, without any auction and for a nominal consideration for Rs 5 lakhs per acres.
The question before the court was whether allotment made by the government was arbitrary and whether the court should interfere in such an allotment.
“... the question of public auction will not arise. The allotment of land was made for a larger reason and for a consideration. It cannot be held that such allotment goes against the principles of equality as laid down in Article 14 of the Constitution,” the court ruled.
The court said no allegations of malafide or nepotism have been shown before it and as such, it would be wrong to stop such an allotment.
"Take judicial note that in many other states, State governments have extended various benefits to eminent sports persons and artists, our State is no exception. Of course, it’s better to have specific policy in place to do away with favouritism for an undeserving person... but a welfare state plays major role in the socio-economical progress,” the court observed.
Senior Advocate Satyam Reddy, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, had earlier contended that his main grievance was the consideration of five lakhs per acre, for which the allotment was made. He argued that the same was not just or proper and claimed that the market value was Rs 5 Crore per acre.
It was also contended that if the government did want to allot land for the development, they ought to have done so by way of a public auction. It is not open to the State to grant precious assets of the State, such as its land, to private individuals without making similar offers to others, the petitioner's counsel contended.
Advocate General B.S Prasad, appearing on behalf of the State of Telangana, had contended that there was no error or irregularity in the allotment. He said that the market value of five crores as shown by the petitioner was nothing but hear-say and has no objective backing.
Senior Counsel B Ragu Ram, appearing on behalf of respondent Film Director, had submitted that he had not registered the property in his individual capacity but in the name of his production house. He further argued that setting up of such a studio will invite new economic opportunities from outside the state and also provide job opportunities within the state. And that upon considering such aspects, the State Government had allotted him the land at a nominal consideration, he said.
Title: J. Shankar vs. State of Telangana
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Tel) 23