In a big blow to the workers of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, the state high court on Friday gave a green signal to the TRS government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao to privatise 50 per cent of the RTC bus services.
A division bench of the high court comprising chief justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and justice A Abhishek Reddy dismissed a petition filed by Telangana Democratic Forum convenor P L Vishweshwar Rao challenging the decision of the state cabinet taken on November 2 to privatise 5,100 RTC buses services.
The high court observed that it can't intervene in the governments' decision to privatise the bus routes. It said the petitioner has failed to prove the loops in the decision of state cabinet.
The court also observed that the decision was as per the Section 102 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which deals with "cancellation or modification of scheme", and states that, "The state government may, at any time, if it considers necessary, in public interest, can modify any approved scheme."
Advocate general B S Prasad Rao said the privatisation process would be conducted under the aegis of Principal Secretary, Transport. Ch Prabhakar, arguing for the petitioner, said the high court judgement would be challenged in the Supreme Court.
For the RTC employees had been on strike since October 5, the HC verdict is a major setback.
On Wednesday, the TSRTC JAC announced that it was willing to give up its indefinite strike after 47 days if the government allowed them to return without any pre-conditions.
However, KCR’s government withheld the decision on taking back the employees in view of the High Court verdict.
It is unclear, however, whether the government will accommodate them (employees) after the HC order.