Hyderabad

RTC MD’s affidavit is like jigsaw puzzle: HC

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CJ wonders if officers knew the consequences of filing affidavit with misleading information

Observing that the affidavit filed by TSRTC MD in-charge over amounts the State government owed to the corporation was ‘incorrect’, the Telangana High Court on Thursday expressed displeasure over some top bureaucrats placing misleading information before it.

While MD in-charge Sunil Sharma, a senior IAS officer, stated that the State government repaid a few hundred crores of rupees towards reimbursement concessions to the corporation, Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan pointed out that the Government Orders (GOs) cited by the officer in the affidavit were related to loans given by the State to purchase new buses. Mr. Sharma, who appeared before the HC, said the GOs were related to grants (funds not required to be repaid) given by the government to RTC.

‘Misuse of English’

Then why were they mentioned as loans in the affidavit, the CJ asked. “Why this misuse of English language? Why describe grants as loans,” the CJ asked, noting that in that case the validity, authenticity and veracity of the affidavit became questionable. A division bench comprising the CJ and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy was hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and writ petitions on the ongoing strike by RTC employees.

When Mr. Sharma explained that the GHMC had communicated to the corporation that it was not legally bound to pay the RTC any money towards losses incurred due to operation of buses in the city region, the bench reminded him that he had to speak for the RTC and not the State.

The bench made it clear that GHMC cannot decide on its own whether to release money towards losses incurred by RTC. It can only communicate its stand on the matter to the State and the latter had to assess the situation and take a call on the matter, the CJ said.

Remarking that crucial details like whether the RTC had written to the GHMC about the losses incurred during the year 2018-19 were missing in the report, the CJ said the “affidavit should give a complete picture. But this affidavit was like piecemeal and jigsaw puzzle”.

Mr. Sharma, conceding that some points were missing in the affidavit, said clear details should have been given. At this stage, the CJ recalled that an earlier affidavit filed by Principal Finance Secretary K. Ramakrishna Rao too was a similar one. “I am surprised two senior officers presented incomplete and vague information hiding half truths,” the CJ said. He wondered whether the officers knew what would be the consequences of filing affidavits under oath with misleading information.

Counsel for RTC workers D. Prakash Reddy said the State Transport Minister had said on the floor of the Assembly in September that the efficiency of the RTC had gone up and the State was supporting it financially. In this regard, Mr Prakash Reddy cited a presentation made by the RTC management to the Transport Minister that the State owed money to the corporation.

Advocate General B.S. Prasad said the presentation was made at an ‘internal meeting’ and sought time to come before the bench with complete details. The matter was posted for Thursday.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 11:31:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/rtc-mds-affidavit-is-like-jigsaw-puzzle-hc/article29857335.ece

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