Center’s stand on capital, clear and loud
The ambiguity over Amaravati as capital for Andhra Pradesh is almost cleared by the Central government for a repeated second time. The Central government had filed affidavit in the AP High Court, which is hearing a case on decentralisation of capital moved by the Jaganmohan Reddy government.
The petitioners have challenged the government’s decision of relocating executive capital in Visakhapatnam, judicial capital in Kurnool and legislative capital in Amaravati. They insist that all the three wings of democracy should continue in Amaravati, as planned by the previous TDP government.
Chandrababu Naidu as chief minister had decided on Amaravati as capital and had pooled 33000 acres from 29,000 farmers spread over 29 villages of Thullur, Mangalagiri and Tadepalli mandals. He had proposed legislature (Assembly and Council), executive (secretariat) and judiciary (high court) in Amaravati and laid foundation for the permanent structures.
The TDP government had also constructed interim buildings for legislature, executive and judiciary to function from here. While the legislature and executive started functioning from the interim buildings since 2016, the judiciary had moved its principal seat on January 1, 2019.
However, the new government headed by Jaganmohan Reddy planned trifurcation and had even brought a legislation distributing the three wings of democracy to the three places – Visakhapatnam, Kurnool and Amaravati.
As the high court started hearing on the petition challenging this trifurcation, the Central government, for the second time, had categorically stated that the selection of state capital is the prerogative of the state government. It had also clearly said that “a capital” as mentioned in the AP Reorganisation Act 2014 should be understood in general terms of all GOs and Acts as multiple and not one, indicating that the state can have as many capitals.
On high court, which is also located in Amaravati, the Central government said that the court need not be located in the capital and can be moved to any place as may be desired by the Rastrapati Bhavan.
The clarification from the Central government gives scope for the courts and others to end the controversy now and allow the government to move forward on its plans of trifurcation. However, the political parties can keep on fighting on the issue.