The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed the government not to shift the offices from state capital Amaravati. During a hearing on the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, regarding the shifting of the capital city and the cancellation of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), the court had directed the government not to take up the matter until further orders are issued.
Advocate General Sriram Subrahmanyam informed court that the bills are pending for the approval of the legislative council and have been referred to the select committee for necessary amendments.
The petitioner’s counsel said they would urge the court to stop the shifting of the capital, which was accepted. The court ordered the government not to move forward till further orders, scheduling the next hearing for February 26.
It then posted the matter for further hearing to February 26. Senior Supreme Court advocate Ashok Bhan represented the aggrieved farmers of Amaravati region, who filed a batch of petitions opposing the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the APCRDA (Repeal) Bill.
Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi represented the state government. The decentralisation bill seeks to pave the way for establishment of executive capital in Visakhapatnam, legislative in Amaravati and judicial capital in Kurnool, a move strongly opposed by the TDP.
On Tuesday, the TDP blocked tabling of the bills in the state Legislative Council for eight hours, forcing five adjournments. Though it was tabled late on Tuesday night the House was adjourned without taking up the discussion.
The state assembly had passed the bills on Monday after 17 MLAs of the TDP were suspended and amid protests by farmers of Amaravati region, who demanded that the town be retained as the capital. State Advocate General Sriram Subrahmanyam, who assisted Mukul Rohatgi, informed about the state Legislative Council’s decision to refer the two bills to a select committee, when the bench sought to know the status of the legislations.
Though Mukul Rohatgi said there was a three-month timeline under the Constitution for the select committee to consider the objections on the bills, the court said it would hear the matter again after three weeks and posted the case to February 26. The petitioners submitted that the HPC committed “gross contempt of the court” as it did not consider the pleas of the aggrieved farmers, though the court gave time till 2.30 pm on January 20.
The bills were introduced in the assembly in a hurry around 12 noon on that day. The farmers were not able to present their concerns to the HPC. If the farmers” representations were considered by the committee, may be the legislation might have got slightly amended, delayed or got better, they contended.
The bench then directed the state not to shift any of its offices to any other place and said the government and officials would be held responsible in the event. Later, speaking to reporters, the petitioners” counsel said, “The court has asked the government not to do anything nor pass any subordinate legislation. This is what we call in legal parlance as a status quo, till the court hears the matter
Now that the YSR Congress government decided to have three capitals for the state, the CRDA Act is proposed to be repealed. The Cabinet also approved the recommendations of the HPC on the capitals issue.
#PublicTalkOn3CapitalsBill #HighCourt #Jagan
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