HYDERABAD: In a bid to prevent further aggravation of the ongoing TSRTC strike, a division bench of Telangana High Court on Friday directed the state government and RTC authorities not to take any steps which would worsen the situation, until the next hearing on November 11.
“Amidst the ongoing crisis, the Cabinet had taken a decision which further agitated not only the minds of the trade unions but also the minds of the people at large,” the bench observed, while directing the State Advocate General to produce a copy of the Cabinet decision before the court by Monday.
When the Additional Advocate General J Ramachandra Rao, appearing for the corporation, raised a few objections in the present PIL and sought time to file his counter-affidavit in the case, the bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy directed him to file the counter by the next hearing of the PIL.
Petitioner’s counsel Chikkudu Prabhakar told the court that the decision taken by Cabinet to privatise 5,100 permits, out of the total 10,400 permits in the State, will aggravate the existing crisis.
When the petitioner’s counsel has said that the copy of the Cabinet decision was not available with him, the bench asked the AG BS Prasad to produce a copy of the said decision so that its legality could be tested by the court.
In his reply, the AG, while placing the counter affidavit before the court in the PIL case, said that the Cabinet decision was a privileged document, and hence, could not be made public. In fact, there was no rule that required a Cabinet decision be made public, he added. He contended that the petitioner could not challenge the policy decision of the government as per judgment of the Supreme Court which held that the courts cannot interfere into decisions taken by the governments.
Reacting to the AG’s submission, Chief Justice Chauhan said that since the Cabinet decision was under challenge, even if it was a privileged document, it could not be withheld from the perusal of the court.
“After all, this court cannot decide the legality or illegality of the decision, until and unless this court peruses the said document. Therefore, the position being taken by the AG is clearly unsustainable,” the CJ said, and directed the AG to produce copy of the said decision on the next hearing date.