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October 2023

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Telangana Governor, government heading for another showdown over bill

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Hyderabad, Aug 4 (IANS) Telangana’s BRS government and Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan appear to be heading for another showdown with a draft bill sent by the government yet to get Raj Bhavan’s approval.

With the Assembly session set to end in a couple of days, the draft bill of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (Absorption of Employees into Government Service) Bill, 2023 has not received the Governor’s nod.

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The bill is aimed at absorbing over 43,000 employees of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) into the government service.

Since it is a money bill, it needs the Governor’s approval for introducing the same in the Assembly.

However, Raj Bhavan clarified on Friday that it received the draft bill at 3.30 p.m. on August 2 while the Assembly was scheduled to meet on August 3.

The Governor has made it clear that she requires some more time to examine it and obtain legal opinion for taking a decision on the request.

Raj Bhavan’s statement came in response to reports that the Governor was delaying the bill.

The monsoon session of the Assembly began on Thursday. During the Business advisory Committee (BAC), the government suggested that the session should be conducted for three days. The opposition Congress demanded that the session be held for at least 20 days.

This is likely to be the last session before Assembly elections due to be held towards the year end. A decision on the demand to extend the session is likely to be taken on Saturday.

However, the delay on part of the Governor to approve the draft bill is keeping the KCR-led government on tenterhooks. The Governor and the BRS government have been at loggerheads on various issues for nearly two years.

The draft bill was prepared after the state Cabinet, at its meeting on July 31, decided to absorb 43,373 TSRTC employees in the government service. It also decided to re-introduce three bills in the Assembly which were earlier returned by the Governor.

The Cabinet decided to once again pass the three bills in the Assembly session, beginning on August 3 as it found fault with the Governor rejecting the bills passed by the legislature in a democratic manner and termed it a mockery of public mandate.

“The Centre is doing politics by misusing the office of Governor,” state minister K. T. Rama Rao had told media persons after the Cabinet meeting on Monday. The three bills are related to Municipal Administration, Panchayat and Education.

“Once the Assembly passes these bills for a second time, the Governor will have to approve them,” the minister had said.

The three bills which will be passed again by the Assembly are the Telangana State Private Universities (Establishment and Regulation) (Amendment Bill, the Telangana Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill, and the Telangana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill.

A day after the Cabinet meeting, the Governor denied that she acted in a biased manner by returning certain bills. She claimed that she did not send back any bill without a valid reason. “I am not against anybody. I have clearly given my explanation about each and every bill. The explanation is sent to the Speaker for tabling in the Assembly so that it knows why I returned the bills. I have not returned any bill without a reason,” she told media persons.

“I can’t be blamed that I am acting in a biased manner. I am well aware of the situation in Telangana. I have clearly mentioned about clarification and objections why I returned those bills,” she added.

In April, the state government had moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Governor to take a decision on the bills pending with her. The government had told the Supreme Court that 10 bills are pending with Raj Bhavan. While seven bills were pending since September 2022, three bills were sent to the Governor in February for her approval. During the hearing, the Supreme Court was informed that the Governor had given her assent to three bills and sent two bills to the President for consideration and assent.



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