Telangana: Battle between Governor, KCR govt reaches High Court

Hyderabad: The rift between Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government has reached the state’s high court (HC).

The state government approached the court seeking a direction to the governor to approve the state budget for 2023-24.

With the budget session of the state legislature scheduled to begin on February 3 and the governor yet to approve it, the government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao approached the court.

The court took up a hearing of the lunch motion petition moved by the state government. During the hearing, the division bench asked the advocate general how the court could give notice to the governor. It wanted to know why the court is being dragged into a controversy between the government and a Constitutional institution.

Appearing on behalf of the government, Supreme Court lawyer Dushyant Dave submitted that when the Constitution is violated, courts can intervene. He cited some judgments of the Supreme Court.

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The government informed the court that the state government sent the draft budget to the governor on January 21 but she was yet to approve the same. It argued that the governor must approve the Finance Bills.

The government received a communication from the Raj Bhavan if arrangements had been made for the governor’s address on the opening day of the budget session.

The government last year conducted the budget without the customary address by the governor, drawing a strong reaction from her. The BRS government defended its move on the ground that it was a continuation of the previous session.

The budget session of the Assembly and Legislative Council is scheduled to begin on February 3. With only four days left and no approval for the budget coming from the governor, the government approached the high court.

The BRS leaders anticipate a crisis as seven Bills passed by the Assembly and Council have been languishing at the Raj Bhavan since September last year.

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The government has taken exception to the Governor’s delaying approval of the budget. It argued that the governor’s speech and the budget presentation were unrelated matters. It also says that there is no clause in the Constitution that requires the governor to address the budget session.

The BRS government cites Article 202 of the Constitution, which mandates that a governor must give permission for presenting before the House a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditures of the state for a financial year.

With the BRS government approaching the court, the friction between the governor and the government has taken a new turn.

It came close on heels of a row over the Republic Day celebrations. The governor was unhappy over the government arranging the main official ceremony at Raj Bhavan.

On a petition filed by a citizen, the High Court had directed the government to hold a police parade as part of the celebration. Though the government made last-minute arrangements for the police parade, the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues skipped the function at Raj Bhavan.

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The governor had slammed the government for what she called not honouring the high court orders.