New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea against the use of Padmavathi Nilayam, a multi-storey building which was constructed for devotees of Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD), for setting up the collectorate of the newly created Sri Balaji district.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Bela M Trivedi said that the court has to keep the larger public interest in mind. Moreover, it said, the appeal has been filed against an interlocutory order of the high court.
The appeal was filed by BJP leader GP Reddy against the Andhra Pradesh High Court order vacating the stay on the use of the properties of Tirumala Tirupati.
At the outset, senior advocate DS Naidu, appearing for Reddy, said the property in question should be used for the deity and the devotees, and not by the government.
It is a religious property which could not have been used by the administration. This property is for the public and the state cannot impinge upon someone else’s property, Naidu said.
The bench said the government has to make some arrangements when it creates a new district and sometimes exigent measures have to be taken keeping in mind the larger public interest.
Justice Surya Kant said, Establishment of a new collectorate is a step related to development. You cannot expect the collectorate to run from a public street or under a tree. It is a temporary measure .
Naidu requested the court to add one line in the order that the takeover will be subject to the final outcome of the petition before the high court, but the bench did not accept the prayer.
We should leave it at that. These are things which we should leave to the government and the democracy. Even the high court building had to work temporarily from a different place after the creation of the new state (Telangana).
“Let it be to the government, they are answerable to the people. Once the Supreme Court says anything, there is a cloud and it will have wide ramification, the bench said.
The Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam had constructed the building Padmavathi Nilayam’ which was inaugurated it in October, 2019 and was given on lease to Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation for providing accommodation to the devotees.
After the onset of COVID pandemic, the building was converted into a quarantine centre. However, in 2022, the state government issued notification for creation of a new district Sri Balaji with its headquarter at Tirupati.
After the notification, the administration requested the Devasthanam to hand it over for establishment of the new collectorate, which it did by a board resolution.
Soon writ petitions were filed in the high court against the decision. The high court initially granted an interim stay but later vacated it.