The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh but decided to refer the matter to Chief Justice P. Sathasivam for posting before a five-judge Constitution Bench.

A Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and S.A. Bobde issued notice to the Centre on petitions filed by the former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, former ministers and MLAs to declare the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, unconstitutional.

After hearing senior counsel Fali Nariman, Harish Salve and others, the Bench said the petitions had raised important questions of law. The petitioners could seek interim relief from the Constitution Bench.

Mr. Reddy and others contended that the bifurcation of the State into Telangana and Seemandra was in breach of federalism. The Act “is unjust, unfair and unreasonable to the people of the Andhra region,” one petition said.

The Lok Sabha passed the Bill in just 23 minutes and what transpired in the House was not known as telecast of the proceedings was blacked out for what was said to be technical reasons. Earlier, the Rajya Sabha, which passed the Bill on February 20, too did not carry out the amendments suggested by members, the petitioners said.

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