The Telangana High Court on Thursday asked senior counsel Prakash Reddy, appearing for the TSRTC unions, to convince them to be a little flexible to end the crisis in the State.

A two-Judge PIL Bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy, also appealed to the government to act generously.

Advocate General BS Prasad informed the court that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao made an open statement to the workmen to join back duty, but the Bench observed that it was more of an ultimatum than a promise.

When the AG brought to the notice of the court that the State took a loan of Rs 30,000 crore for better irrigation infrastructure, the Chief Justice asked why the government could not take Rs 49 crore for the cause of TSRTC.

The Bench heard inconclusively arguments from parties in the PIL questioning the ongoing RTC strike. Chief Secretary SK Joshi, Principal Secretary (Finance) K Ramakrishna Rao, RTC in-charge Managing Director Sunil Sharma and the GHMC Commissioner appeared in person before the Bench.

The Bench voiced its displeasure over the inconsistencies in the reports filed by the IAS officers. When the Chief Secretary submitted that the fresh affidavit was filed after a detailed inquiry, it questioned why the first affidavit was not filed after detailed examination of records. “If you place self-contradictory affidavits, what is the veracity of the affidavits filed, the trustworthiness of persons changing affidavit is doubtful,” the Bench said.

Speaking for the Bench, the Chief Justice asked: “How could you hide things from the court? In court, you are expected to tell the truth, misstatements on oath is an offence, it is contempt. It is surprising that IAS officers are doing this, the affidavits filed are vague again, the purpose for which money is released is not specified”.

Refusing to accept the reasoning that it was a human error, the Chief Justice said: “You cannot err before a court. If you err before the court, you should be ready to face the consequences”. When Ramakrishna Rao apologised for filing the report in a hurry, the Chief Justice said: “Apology is not the answer. You are supposed to place the comprehensive details and truth before the court”.

The Bench pointed out that while the Principal Secretary said the government paid Rs 130 crore, the government’s affidavit showed that Rs 1,230 crore was paid. It pointed out that all the figures of in-charge MD were meaningless. “If you mislead your own boss, what is the guarantee you won’t mislead us,” the Bench asked.

It adjourned the matter to Monday for further hearing.

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