The Andhra Pradesh government on Saturday, September 17, approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s verdict, which had ordered the state to develop Amaravati as the state’s capital within six months. In a setback to the YSRCP government’s plans of decentralization, the High Court earlier this year in March, gave the verdict in favour of the Amaravati farmers, stating that the legislature had no competence to make any legislation on the state’s capital.
Challenging the High Court’s verdict, the Andhra government sought the intervention of the Supreme Court and filed Special Leave Petitions. The state, in its petition said, “If a State, re-organised in pursuance of a central legislation under Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution, is held to be without power, to reorganise its capital, it would be destructive of the federal structure of the Constitution.”
While the previous government under N Chandrababu Naidu had planned development of Amaravati as the state’s capital city, the succeeding Jagan government in 2019, instead announced of building three capital cities – executive capital at Visakhapatnam, judicial capital at Kurnool and legislative capital at Amaravati, triggering backlash from farmers of Amaravati, who had given their lands for the capital.
The High Court held that the Capital Region Development Authority Act is a legislation made by the State under Article 258 of the Constitution, meaning that the State legislated the said Act as a delegate of the Union of India. When the CRDA Act was legislated in 2014, the express text of the Act, shows that the State exercised its powers under List II Entry 5 for constituting a local body, the State argued. “Neither the Union nor the State, said that CRDA legislation is a part of the delegation of the Union. In fact the Union Government filed an affidavit, that the shifting of capitals is within the domain of the State,” it pointed out.
The State observed that the finding of the High Court is challenged because, assuming that CRDA Act, is legislated as a delegated power, the delegate did not follow the prescriptions of Section 6 of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. It said that the location of the capital at Amaravati was contrary to the recommendations of the committee appointed under the central Act. “Therefore the question of law raised is, could a decision taken by a delegate, contrary to the provisions of the Central Act, be affirmed by the High Court?,” it said.
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