Vijayawada: The Union government once again conveyed to the Andhra Pradesh High Court that it has no role in deciding the capital of any state. On the capital controversy in Andhra Pradesh, the Union Home Ministry has iterated that it has no role in the selection of the place for capital but has the responsibility to extend financial support for the basic infrastructure in the capital as decided by the state government.
The Home Ministry also disparaged the interpretation of the words ‘a capital’ in the AP Reorganisation Act as ‘single capital’ only. It has conveyed to the AP High Court that as per section 13 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, words in singular shall include the plural in all Central Acts and regulations (unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context).
Undersecretary in the MHA, Lalita T. Hedaoo, filed a seven-page additional affidavit in the AP High Court in the case (Writ Petition No. 13204 of 2020) challenging the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s decision to establish three capitals in the state for decentralised development.
In the affidavit, the Union government has made its stand clear that establishment of the capital is the prerogative of the state government only. As per the AP Reorganisation Act, the Centre had to set up an expert panel to suggest a suitable place for the capital. The Centre had formed the panel headed by retired IAS officer K.C. Sivaramakrishnan to study alternatives for a new capital for Andhra Pradesh. The Committee submitted its report on August 30, 2014 and it was sent to the Andhra Pradesh government on September 1, 2014, for taking final decision.
The previous government, led by Nara Chandrababu Naidu of TDP, had earlier chosen Amaravati as the capital and had notified the same through their Government Order on April 23, 2015. Based on the said notification, the Survey of India incorporated Amaravati as the capital of Andhra Pradesh in the latest political map of India (English 9th Edition 2019 and Hindi 6th Edition 2020), the MHA mentioned.
Sections 94 (3) and (4) of the AP Reorganisation Act only provides for financial assistance by the Centre for the creation of essential facilities in their new capital and to further facilitate denotification of degraded forest land, if necessary, for the same. The Centre has to fund for building Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, High Court, Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
On High Court, the MHA also clarified that the High Court for Andhra Pradesh was established through a Presidential notification with Amaravati as the principal seat. “Notification of President’s Order regarding the constitution of a separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh with a principal seat at Amaravati by the Central Government cannot be construed as the central government’s decision to declare Amaravati as Capital of Andhra Pradesh, as the Principal Seat of High Court need not necessarily be in the capital city of the state,”, the MHA clarified.