Andhra Pradesh

HC to take up ‘three capitals’ cases from tomorrow

A full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court comprising Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justices Joymalya Bagchi and N. Jayasurya is scheduled to undertake a fresh hearing of arguments in over 90 petitions that challenged the A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and CRDA Repeal Bills, 2020, from August 23.

The cases were last dealt with by the same Bench in early May, when they were supposed to do a physical hearing, but could not listen to arguments in-person because of the difficulty expressed by some advocates in attending the court due to the COVID pandemic.

Beginning Monday, the cases will be heard in both virtual and physical mode.

At the centre of the whole controversy are the proposed ‘three capitals’ namely Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as the Legislative, Executive and Judicial capitals respectively, for which the above enabling legislations had been passed in the Assembly, but hit a stumbling block in the Council in the form of their reference by the then Chairman Md. Ahmed Shariff to a select committee, which resulted in the passing of a resolution in the Assembly for the abolition of the Council.

The petitions mainly include the ones that challenged the appointment of the G.N. Rao Committee, which recommended the development of the three capital cities for as many capital functions, and the endorsement of its findings by the government’s high power committee.

The others are opposed to the shifting of offices from Amaravati to Hyderabad (envisaged in the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014 as the common capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), shifting of the High Court and the office of the Commissioner of Vigilance and Enquiries to Kurnool, grants given for the construction of Millennium towers at Visakhapatnam, allotment of house sites in the lands in Amaravati acquired for the establishment of the capital city, and the abolition of Legislative Council (this proposal is pending with the Central government).

There are also petitions that challenged the imposition of prohibitory orders in the existing capital region (Amaravati) under Section.144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which are purportedly meant to scuttle the protests by farmers and people against the shifting of the ‘Executive capital’ from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam.

It may also be noted that the recent Cabinet meeting had decided to move the Institution of Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta from Hyderabad to Kurnool even as some petitions which prayed for their shifting to the R&B Buildings in Vijayawada were pending adjudication by the High Court.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 4:04:38 PM |

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