Andhra Pradesh

Supreme Court revives hearing on Andhra Pradesh bifurcation

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Monica Tewari

What better “index” to ascertain whether a State is to be divided or not other than public demand, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

The observation came from a Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud while reviving a bunch of petitions filed by leading Telugu politicians across parties, challenging the bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. They had wanted the apex court to declare the bifurcation as an illegal and unconstitutional act.

Though it issued a notice to the Centre in 2014, a Supreme Court Bench led by then Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, leading to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the formation of new State Telangana.

 

After almost three years in cold storage, the petitions were listed on Monday.

A battery of lawyers for the petitioners demanded that there should be a “federal index” for State formation. The Centre cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over the federal structure of democracy and divide States into bits.

“What can be a better index than the entire State demanding it [bifurcation],” Chief Justice Khehar questioned.

The lawyers denied there was no such pressure to bifurcate and proper consultations were not held between the Centre and erstwhile State authorities.

 

“When we said 'State', we did not mean the State government. We meant the people of the State,” Chief Justice Khehar said.

The lawyers said Telangana lost 140 of its villages due to the bifurcation, and this was not the first time the people had experienced the sufferings of bifurcation and new State formations.

“The first time was when Andhra was separated from Madras,” a lawyer submitted.

Additional Solicitor General P.S. Patwalia submitted that a committee had held detailed hearings and filed a report that the people living in parts of the present Telangana wanted a new State.

The petitions claimed that the Centre had introduced the Bill when it was rejected by the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature. It had contended the legality of the provision in the 2014 Act for a common Capital for Telangana and Andhra for a whole decade.

 

The petitions said the bifurcation was a violation of the Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution.

They contended that the bifurcation also violated the basic provisions of federalism. The Centre had to first consult the State legislature before passing any law to merge or divide it.

The petitioners include Congress MPs Rayapati Sambasiva Rao and Vundavalli Arun Kumar, Telugu Desam MP C.M. Ramesh, YSR Congress MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy and BJP leader Raghu Rama Krishna Raju.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 7:02:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Supreme-Court-revives-hearing-on-Andhra-Pradesh-bifurcation/article17045416.ece

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