The Andhra Pradesh High Court has adjourned a writ petition filed by Gadde Tirupathi Rao (managing trustee of Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi), Madala Srinivasa Rao of Visakhapatnam and V. Manoharam of Thullur mandal in Guntur district against the provision of accommodation for the Chief Minister, Ministers and senior government officials in Visakhapatnam city, to December 8.
The petitioners contended that the provision of accommodation in Visakhapatnam is part of the government’s attempt to shift the capital to Visakhapatnam by setting up a camp office for the Chief Minister and other offices, for which G.O. No. 2283 (dated November 22, 2023) and some other orders were issued, all in blatant violation of the High Court’s judgment in the three capitals case. They prayed for declaration of the relocation of the government offices to various places in Visakhapatnam as illegal. Senior advocate Unnam Muralidhar Rao appeared for the petitioners.
As per the Amaravati judgment, the respondents have no power to legislate in so far as trifurcation or shifting of the capital was concerned, and therefore, they do not have the power to issue the impugned G.O.s which directly affect the functioning and development of the capital city of Amaravati, they observed.
Govt. counsel’s reaction
Representing the State, Advocate General S. Sriram said it was a case of ‘forum shopping’ by the petitioners as they moved the court in spite of being aware of the fact that the matters were before a Full Bench (FB) of the High Court. He argued that what should have been filed as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), was converted into a writ petition through dexterous drafting in order to disguise the relief, thereby, and avoid adjudication by a Division Bench or a Full Bench. The writ petition was an abuse of process and it has to be treated as a PIL, Mr. Sriram said.