Members belonging to the Bar Associations of six districts in Andhra Pradesh have come together to register their protest against the ruling YSRCP government's move to shift the High Court from Amaravati to Kurnool.
Bar Associations from the districts of Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, East and West Godavari and Prakasam met in Vijayawada on Sunday and formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to chalk out their future plan.
The move came just days after an expert committee headed by G N Rao to decide the fate of the capital, announced that it had recommended three capitals in Amaravati, Vizag, and Kurnool.
Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had hinted that as per the committee's recommendation, the judicial headquarters of the state may be shifted to Kurnool, where a new High Court would be set up.
In response, the members of the JAC have also decided to boycott their duties from December 23 until December 27, when the state cabinet will meet to discuss the report filed by the Committee.
The JAC passed a resolution against the move to shift the High Court and elected AP Bar Council member Chalasani Ajay Kumar as the JAC Chairman.
Speaking to TNM, Ajay Kumar said, "For now, we are not taking any major steps but only registering our dissent. As the government is yet to officially announce the move, we are waiting to watch their next step."
The dissenting lawyers have said that judicial benches could be set up at Visakhapatnam and Kurnool, but the High Court should remain in Amaravati.
"Proceedings are already going on smoothly. It was after a long delay that the High Court was even shifted to Amaravati in the first place. To disrupt it all over again and shift it to Kurnool, which is not as accessible as Amaravati, would be unfair," Ajay Kumar added.
The Amaravati High Court was set up last year after the Union Law Ministry issued an order signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The senior advocate also pointed out that there was a due process to be followed even if the HC had to be shifted.
"The state government will again need to take the permission of the Centre and the President. Meanwhile, if an official communication or order is issued in this regard, we will challenge it in court ourselves," Ajay Kumar said.
After the stateâ€™s bifurcation in 2014, several advocates in the Rayalaseema region had demanded that the high court be shifted to Kurnool. The lawyers, who had staged multiple agitations and boycotts and submitted several representations, had said that the Rayalaseema region in the state â€” comprising of Kurnool, Kadapa, Chittoor and Anantapur, had been historically neglected.
They had also cited the Sribagh Pact and the Gentlemen's Agreement, which was signed by leaders of Telugu-speaking regions like Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema in the 1950s, when Kurnool was selected as the capital of the combined state, after reorganisation from the Madras Province.
Speaking to reporters after filing the report, GN Rao had also noted, â€œThe Amaravati-Mangalagiri complex can have a High Court bench. The Vizag metropolitan region can also have a High Court bench. In Kurnool, in accordance with the Sribagh Pact and peopleâ€™s demands, the High Court can be established."
The committee report has also triggered protests among a section of farmers in Amaravati who gave up their agricultural land under the state's land-pooling scheme, for the development of the capital.