AP Governor gives nod for three capitals, yet remains further legal scrutiny


Amaravati:  Call it a dream ‘realised’ to the young chief minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and ‘shattered’ to his bete noir and predecessor Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

On Friday, the Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan gave his assent to the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill and APCRDA Repeal Bill. It  paves the way for the formation of three capitals — legislative in Amaravati, executive in Visakhapatnam and judicial in Kurnool.
The Governor’s consent comes seven months after Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s dramatic announcement in the state assembly.  It remains to be seen when the executive capital will be moved to Vizag. Official sources said it could be in October or by the new year at the latest.
However, with a plethora of petitions filed by the TDP, Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi and others pending in the High Court, opinion is divided on whether the Decentralisation Act will pass legal muster.
The crux of the matter, some legal experts point out, is in shifting the High Court to Kurnool.  Many a legal luminary feels that the High Court, which was established in Amaravati following a presidential notification and with the consent of the Supreme Courtev, cannot be reverted so easily. Overturning a Presidential Proclamation, they feel is not possible through an Act enacted by the state legislature. It will have to be ratified by the President again.
However, the government is confident that the Act will not face legal hurdles and official sources recalled that the Centre has made it clear time and again that the issue of the capital is a state issue and the central government has no role in it.
During its last hearing on the capital issue, the High Court, in reply to the submissions of the petitioners challenging the three capitals, said it will take care of the matter if the Governor gives his assent to the bills before its verdict.
The Governor’s assent is the culmination of a drama that began last December. The state government had introduced the bills in the Assembly and the Council in January this year. The Council, dominated by the TDP, had then referred the bills to a select committee. However, the legislature secretary did not form the committee.
Subsequently the state government sent the bills to the Assembly for the second time in the recently concluded budget session. The same were passed by the Assembly and sent to the Council, which did not take it up.  As per rules, since the Council did not take a call for the second time, the government sent the bills to the Governor for approval deeming them to have been passed by the Council.