HC extends stay on privatisation of RTC permits till Monday
Observing that the PIL petition challenging the State Cabinet decision on ‘TSRTC privatisation’ was at variance with its content, the Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the petitioner’s counsel to come up with an amended prayer.
While the petitioner’s counsel Chikkud Prabhakar agreed to file amended prayer by Friday, the HC extended the stay order on the matter till Monday when it will resume hearing. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy told the counsel that the Cabinet decision was about privatisation of 5,100 TSRTC permits while the prayer was on TSRTC privatisation.
Mr. Prabhakar said he relied on newspaper reports on the matter and filed the plea since the Cabinet decision was not made available to people. Before asking the counsel to amend his prayer, the bench asked Advocate General B.S. Prasad whether the Cabinet decision’s copy was filed as directed by it earlier.
The AG presented the copy in a sealed cover to the bench. After perusing it, the bench pointed out that the Cabinet had directed the State Transport Authority to consider privatisation of some permits of TSRTC. “This is against letter and spirit of section 102 of the Motor Vehicles Act. The State should give an opportunity to the RTC for hearing. Did State Transport Authority issue notice to RTC?” the bench asked.
With the AG replying that the Cabinet decision was not contrary to section 102 of the MV Act, the CJ asked him to ‘read out the Cabinet decision’. As the AG hesitated to read out stating that Cabinet resolution cannot be made public, the CJ asked him to read the resolution to himself.
“The moment I read out the decision and with the press over there, it becomes public document,” the CJ observed. At this stage, the CJ suggested to the AG to come to the bench and read it out, saying that mikes would be switched off apparently to ensure what he reads out would not be heard by those present in the court.
The AG walked up to the dais and explained to the bench his stand while the CJ and the other judge sought some clarifications. After a few minutes, the AG asked the Transport Commissioner Sandeep Sultania, who was present in the court, also to come to the dais.
For close to 15 minutes, the AG and the IAS officer conversed with the bench. Afterwards , the bench said the Cabinet decisions may not be revealed to public in some matters and asked Mr. Prabhakar to file an amended prayer.
When Additional Advocate General J. Ramchander Rao rose stating that he would add to what the AG said on the matter, the bench declined to hear. “Norms of the bar are that once the AG had spoken on a matter, no other counsel is permitted to speak on the same subject.
Source: The hindu