Hyderabad High Court terms Telangana government's FAST scheme secessionist

The Hyderabad High Court on 22nd September termed the proposed move of the Telangana government to extend the Financial Assistance to the Students of Telangana (FAST) only to students whose parents were residents of Telangana on November 1, 1956, as an anti-integrationist act. The court asked the government not to finalize any modalities for implementation of the scheme. Even if a committee had been constituted to frame guidelines, the guidelines should be placed before the court.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar was dealing with petitions by Mr Pitani Satyanarayana and Mr Dokka Manikya Varaprasada Rao, former ministers in undivided AP.

The petitioners who filed an appeal against Financial Assistance to the Students of Telangana (FAST) contended that the November 1, 1956, proviso was against the Presidential Order which governs education and state employment.

Telangana advocate-general K. Ramakrishna Reddy said that the GO was issued to work out the modalities of the scheme, and a final decision was yet to be taken.

Chief Justice Sengupta asked the AG why the government had proposed to extend assistance only to students belonging to Telangana and questioned the rationale behind fixing November 1, 1956 as the cutoff date.

The AG cited financial constraints as the reason. To this, Justice Sengupta said, "If you don't have sufficient funds, the government can scrap the scheme, but it has no power to put such barriers which are unconstitutional.""If we allow this GO it will result in a secessionist and an anti-integrationist act. We shall strive to protect the integrity of this country," the Chief Justice added.

Maintaining that Telangana was an integral part of India, the Chief Justice pointed out that the Constitution had already derived the modalities for local status of a citizen and the Presidential Order, which was in force in the state, had already given parameters to derive the local status of citizens for employment and education and wondered why the state government was now adopting a parochial attitude. The bench said no interim order was required at this stage and directed the state government to file a counter to justify the GO.
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