HC stays KCR cabinet decision to privatize 5100 routes

The petitioner while challenging the K Chandrasekhar Rao government’s decision to privatize routes urged the court to declare the proposed move illegal instead of initiating negotiations with the striking employees.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy on Friday stayed the Telangana cabinet’s decision to privatize 5,100 routes in view of the ongoing TSRTC strike.

Dealing with a fresh writ petition filed by Prof P L Vishweswar Rao, convenor, Telangana Democratic Forum the court gave the orders. The bench directed the matter to be listed for further adjudication on November 11 and directed the government to submit the decisions made by the state Cabinet.

The petitioner while challenging the K Chandrasekhar Rao government’s decision to privatize routes urged the court to declare the proposed move illegal instead of initiating negotiations with the striking employees.

“The move to privatize routes was ‘unconstitutional, unreasonable, arbitrary and also mockery of Constitution of India, Road Transport Corporation Act 1950 and Motor Vehicles Act 1988’, the petitioner said.

However, the Advocate General B S Prasad Rao appearing on behalf of the government pointed out that he can’t produce the cabinet decisions taken on 2 November to the court citing privilege, the court ruled out saying that cabinet decisions could not be a secret and they must be on the public domain. The Advocate General further argued that the apex court earlier ruled that decision of cabinet cannot be challenged; the bench said that it cannot further precipitate the matters and gave the stay order.

Unfazed by the ongoing month-long strike the chief Minister after the cabinet meeting, addressing press declared the privatization of 5100 routes out of the 10,400 routes run by the TSRTC.

The chief minister also extended the deadline to midnight of 5 November for the employees to join duties or to face dismissal. KCR said that the decision to privatize routes is irrevocable under the provisions of Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.

The chief minister on 7 October announced that only 1200 employees remained in the 50,000 strong state transport corporation, and all others who have failed to return to duties by the midnight of 5 October are “self dismissed”.

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