Andhra Pradesh High Court. (AP High Court)
VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh High Court has made it clear that it will go into legality of two acts — Decentralisation of AP and Repeal of APCRDA — apart from the procedure adopted by the AP government in formulating these acts.
The three-judge division bench, comprising Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy and Justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu, continued its hearing on the issue of capital city Amaravati for the fourth consecutive day here on Thursday.
The bench observed that it would no longer go into details of suitability for setting up the capital city at a place, as the main issue is not related to these places. The justices advised advocates to argue on legality of the two acts.
Petitioners’ counsel V. Muralidhar Rao contended that though the government acquired lands from farmers with an assurance to build the capital city with international standards, it is now backtracking with some mala fide intentions. He submitted that the government had finalised the capital city Amaravati based on recommendations of Sivaramakrishnan Committee report after taking into consideration its strategic location.
Muralidhar Rao argued that the government is now raising the issue of regional inequality if Amaravati is developed. This stand goes against the fact that the then government had resolved in 2014 to develop megacities and smart cities in several regions of the state.
Another counsel for petitioners B. Adinarayana Rao argued that Sivaramakrishnan Committee had left the choice to state government on selection of a place for developing the capital city. Accordingly, the then government selected Amaravati as the location.
Adinarayana Rao submitted that it is for the first time in the country that farmers voluntarily offered 33,000 acres of land to develop the capital city. As such, the government should honour the sacrifices of farmers. In this context, he pointed out that though Tughlaq and Akbar relocated their capital cities elsewhere, they had to subsequently restore the capitals at their original places.
Interestingly, the Chief Justice commented that whatever they speak in a lighter vein while hearing arguments, these comments are being highlighted prominently in the media. This is causing a lot of inconvenience, as they are forced to clarify their comments outside the court.