Telangana HC stays GO121; Village revenue officers\' redeployment stopped

Court said the VROs, who have not been redeployed yet, shall be continued and they have to be paid salaries until further orders

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Telangana High Court comprising Chief Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice C.V. Bhaskar Reddy on Monday issued stay orders on the implementation of Government Order 121 issued by the finance department on July 23, through which the state government commenced the process of redeploying village revenue officers (VROs) working in various districts to other departments.

The court said the VROs, who have not been redeployed yet, shall be continued in the revenue department and they have to be paid salaries until further orders. The interim orders will not be applicable to VROs who have already joined other departments.

The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by the Telangana Village Revenue Officers’ Association represented by its president Golkanda Satish and Pagilla Venkataiah, VRO, Mahmudapuram village, Nalgonda. They challenged the Telangana Abolition of Posts of Village Revenue Officers Act, 2020 (Act No. 10 of 2020) and all consequential proceedings and orders issued by the government including GO 121.

P.V. Krishnaiah, counsel for the petitioners, informed the court that the government, through an executive order (GO.121) passed the order for the redeployment of VROs. He argued that it was enough to declare that the GO was invalid. Redeploying VROs in other departments was in sheer and blatant violation of various sections of VROs Abolition Act, 2020 as the finance department had no role in the issue, he said. The Chief Secretary had no power to issue such a GO, submitted the counsel.

According to a Presidential Order, each post in each department in each district was a distinct cadre and therefore the VRO who was working in the revenue department which was a district cadre post could not be transferred to another department either in the same district or another district until and unless the appropriate government amended the order issued by the President of India under Article 371 of the Constitution of India, counsel said.

Justice Ujjal Bhuyan questioned Advocate-General B.S. Prasad why the government had not framed rules and implemented ‘instructions issued in the GO.121, more particularly, instructions issued in paragraph number 3. He further observed that mere making law was not sufficient, and the law became operational only when it was accompanied by the relevant rules. The court then issued orders staying GO 121.

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