HC directs TS to celebrate R-Day with parade

HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court directed the Telangana state government on Wednesday to organise the 74th Republic Day celebrations, including parade, in accordance with the Central government’s guidelines. The venue of the festivities befitting the occasion was left to the discretion of the state government, but the court asked the government to allow people to witness the celebrations.

The court issued the directions after a petitioner, K.Srinivas, a resident of Gowlipura, through his counsel Chinnolla Naresh Reddy, contended that the
state government has been breaking standard conventions and protocols by not
organising the Republic Day celebrations in a fitting manner, including the parade and other programmes arguing that such practice was against the spirit of the celebrations.

The petition follows the Telangana state government memo stating that separate celebrations will be held at CMO and Raj Bhavan without any mention of holding the traditional parade.

Justice P. Madhavi Devi, who gave the interim orders during a lunch motion plea, rejected the government's arguments for not holding the parade due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The petitioner also brought to the court’s notice that the government discontinued the practice of organising Republic Day celebrations at Parade Ground, Secunderabad, a traditional practice. The court questioned Telangana's advocate general B.S. Prasad as to why the state is not organising Republic Day celebrations when other states and Union Territories in the country are organising it in accordance with the Standard Operating Procedures of the Union government. The state government has not yet issued any Covid-19 preventive measures or protocols, therefore the court questioned how it could claim that celebrations will be held separately at the Raj Bhavan and the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).

The petitioner further argued that by failing to have joint official R-Day festivities with the State Governor at the Parade Ground in Secunderabad, the government had broken long-practised conventions and protocols.

Additionally, the petitioner stated that he and his family regularly attend Republic Day celebrations at Parade Grounds, which in his opinion encourages patriotism among the citizenry in addition to providing an opportunity to recall the sacrifices made by freedom fighters.

The Governor presents awards on Republic Day to public servants and law enforcement personnel, among others, for their outstanding performance in
their respective sectors. Additionally, he asserted that it is customary for the armed personnel to organise a parade with a Guard of Honour for the state's Governor — the nation's first citizen and constitutional head of state, the petitioner contended. The petitioner cited T. Suryan Karan Reddy, additional attorney general of India, who was representing the Union government argued that the defence ministry issued SOPs to foster patriotism and highlight the rich cultural diversity of the nation and the States. The SOPs were disregarded by the Telangana government, in violation of the Constitution. If the state government is unable to organise the Republic Day festivities, it should delegate responsibility to the Army.

B.S. Prasad argued that the lunch motion appeal was politically motivated, and that the defence ministry's SOPs were merely guidelines, and it is the state's prerogative to hold Republic Day celebrations. Unconvinced by the arguments, the Judge ordered that the High Court, Raj Bhavan CMO, and all government offices will have to follow protocols by holding Republic Day celebrations in their respective offices.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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