Saturday, July 20, 2024

Telangana HC dismisses KCR’s petition against Judicial Commission

Hyderabad, July 1 2024-

In a setback to former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the Telangana High Court on Monday dismissed his writ petition seeking direction to stay proceedings of Justice L. Narasimha Reddy Commission constituted by the Congress to probe into Power Purchase Agreements made by the previous BRS government with the Chhattisgarh.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Anil Kumar Jukanti, pronounced the orders on the petition filed by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president on June 25. The court had reserved its orders on June 28.

Chandrasekhar Rao, who had served as chief minister for two terms between 2014 and 2023, had argued in his petition that setting up the Commission was ultra vires the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act-1952 and the Electricity Act-2003.

KCR, as the BRS chief is popularly known, had mentioned that he had written a letter to the former HC judge to recuse himself from heading the Commission.

The Commission is also investigating the power purchase agreement with Chhattisgarh and the construction of the Bhadradri and Yadadri Thermal Power Plants during the BRS government.

KCR had sought a stay on the Government Order of March 14 constituting the Commission on the ground that the commission chairman appeared to be biased and had pre-judged the issue before hearing the contentions of all sides.

KCR’s counsel Aditya Sondhi had also argued that the order constituting the Enquiry Commission was without jurisdiction since the terms of reference were under adjudication by both the Telangana and Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commissions. He submitted to the court that the Commission of Inquiry, as constituted under the Act, lacks jurisdiction to make findings on matters already adjudicated by a quasi-judicial authority.

The court was told that the Commission had issued notice to KCR seeking details relating to power purchase agreements and construction of power plants. Since he was busy campaigning in Lok Sabha elections, he sought more time to respond. Even before he could submit his reply, Justice Narasimha Reddy held a press conference to say that there were irregularities in power purchase agreements and the construction of power plants.

The Advocate General A. Sudarshan Reddy had dismissed the contention of the petitioner’s counsel that the Commission was biased.

He had argued that the former chief minister’s petition was not maintainable and misconceived and liable to be dismissed at the admission stage. He said that a public notice was issued, inviting objections to forming the Commission but drew no response. (Agency)

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