Hyderabad: Telangana High Court has once again sharply pulled up the State Government over the ongoing strike by RTC employees. At the same time, it appealed to see the issue not only from the standpoint of employees, but also from the standpoint of the suffering common people, due to the continuation of the strike.
The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy expressed this opinion while hearing the PIL petition on Tuesday, seeking to declare the ongoing strike as illegal. It expressed dissatisfaction at the affidavit filed by the Principal Secretary of Finance about the liabilities of the RTC and the amount to be reimbursed by the Government. The Bench had directed, during the hearing on Monday, that the Principal Secretary must clarify whether the figures quoted by the employees union counsel, about the RTC not receiving nearly Rs 3966 crore rupees from the Government, are right or wrong. To that end, the Principal Secretary filed an affidavit, perusing which the Bench expressed dissatisfaction. It stated that when a senior IAS officer at the level of Principal Secretary is asked to clarify on the amounts, an honest and straightforward answer is expected, not an wishy washy statement.
The Advocate General B S Prasad submitted that it requires lot of time to compute the figures and it was not possible to do so in one day. The Chief Justice said that the Principal Secretary is expected to have all the figures at his command, especially when he is emphatically stating that the Government had made this much amount as budgetary allocation to the RTC. The affidavit seems to be intended to fudge the issue.
The Bench also said that the Government is now saying that 75 percent of buses are running which means that the remianing 25 percent are idle, inconveniencing the people, especially in rural areas. It underlined that the RTC management or the Government is still not able to give to the court the actual figures of how many temporary drivers and staff have been recruited.
When the counsel for the PIL petitioner sought the Court’s direction to declare the strike illegal and for employees to rejoin duties immediately, the Bench chided him saying that such a direction would throw all the employees into severe trouble. It directed the Government to come out with a concrete statement about the dues to be paid to the RTC by 31st October and adjourned the case to November 1st.