The Telangana High Court has directed the state government to conduct Republic Day celebrations tomorrow as per the guidelines issued by the Government of India, while noting that the celebrations proposed by the state are not in a "grand manner befitting the majesty of the occasion".

Amid a standoff between the state government led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, the state had decided to limit the Republic Day celebrations to the Governor hoisting the tricolour at Raj Bhavan in the presence of the Cheif Secretary, Director General of Police and other state officials, in the absence of the Chief Minister.

The Bench of Justice P Madhavi Devi ordered, "The Government for the State of Telangana is thus directed to celebrate the Republic Day 26th January, 2023 as per the Guidelines of the Government of India". The Court directed the Advocate General to communicate the order immediately to the state government so that the "Government can make arrangements for Republic Day celebrations tomorrow as per the Guidelines of the Government of India".

The order has been passed on a petition filed by one K. Srinivas. The Petitioner had alleged that the state is not conducting the Republic Day celebrations in its "true spirit and fervour" and not scrupulously following the Standard Operating Procedure issued by the Ministry of Defence on January 19.

It was also alleged that the state government is breaking the tradition of holding combined official celebrations with the Governor at the parade ground in Secunderabad.

Senior Advocate T. Suryakaran Reddy along with Advocate C. Naresh Reddy appeared for the Petitioner while the Advocate General appeared for the State and DSG Gadi Praveen Kumar appeared for the Centre.

The Advocate General told the Court that the state has decided to conduct the celebration as done last year, with the Governor hoisting the tricolour in the presence of senior bureaucrats. He also sought to rely upon a Center's office memorandum asking to follow SOP relating to Covid-19, to justify the low-profile celebrations.

The DSG for the centre contended that the memorandum relied upon the AG was only in relation to celebrations at the Delhi.

"Though the Advocate General is relying upon the Covid-19 situation being still existing, he has not been able to place on record or place before this Court any Guidelines issued by the Government of Telangana and the Standard Operating Procedure to be followed in any official function as on due date due to Covid-19 situation", the Court said in its interim order.

The Court also said that "The Republic Day being a National Festival, has to be celebrated with national fervour, grandeur, gaiety and enthusiasm" and that the states are bound to follow the guidelines issued by the Centre.

Click here to read/download Order