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AP goes to Supreme Court with SLP on three capitals

DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent

Published on: September 17, 2022 | Updated on: September 17, 2022

Andhra Pradesh government has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in Supreme Court against AP High Court's judgement on three capitals (Representational Image/AFP)

VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh government has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in Supreme Court against AP High Court’s judgement that the state is not competent to legislate on its three capitals.

In its SLP at the country’s highest court, AP government has taken a stand that if a state, reorganised as per provisions of a Central Act under Articles 3 and 4 of the Indian Constitution, is deprived of the power to reorganise its capital city, it amounts to destroying the federal structure of the Indian Constitution.

The SLP contended that the High Court has held Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014, as a legislation made by state government under Article 258 of the Indian Constitution, indicating that AP government legislated the said act as a delegate of Union of India.

When the CRDA Act was enacted in 2014, the text of the act made it clear that the state government is exercising its powers under List II of Entry 5 for constituting a local body. Neither the centre nor the AP government said that CRDA Act is part of delegation of the centre. In fact, the centre itself filed an affidavit in the High Court stating that shifting of capitals is within the purview of AP government.

As per the SLP, the law makes it clear that the power under Article 258 of Indian Constitution is only relatable to delegation of executive and administrative powers, but not the legislative power to the centre.

The state government maintains that it is challenging the High Court’s observation for the reason that CRDA Act has been legislated as delegation of power. The delegate had not followed norms under Section 6 of AP Split Act, 2014. Moreover, the AP government took the stand that location of the capital at Amaravati is contrary to recommendations of the committee that had been appointed under the Central Act.

Basis this, the state government has raised a question of law, asking whether a decision taken by a delegate, contrary to provisions of the Central Act, could be affirmed by the High Court.

Further, the state government has challenged AP HC’s findings about non-compliance with obligations under Land Pooling Scheme, as the CRDA had already extended the timeframe for compliance with LPS rules up to 2024. Therefore, the state feels there is no cause for adjudication of the dispute by High Court at the relevant stage.

AP government also asked whether adjudication of competence of legislature, which is one of the organs of the government, after withdrawal of the three capitals legislation, would constitute a breakdown of principle of separation of powers among the three organs of the government, as it is considerate as the basic structure of Indian Constitution.

The state government said it has filed the SLP in the apex court based on legal advice of experts in constitutional law, assuming that there is a legal remedy available to AP government against the AP High Court’s judgement.

The SLP reiterated that Andhra Pradesh government is committed to people of the state and decentralisation of governance by way of setting up legislative, administrative and judicial capitals in Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool respectively.