Supreme Court LAW INSIDER

Savvy Thakur

Published on: 28 November 2022 at 20:57 IST

The Andhra Pradesh High Court‘s March order requiring the state government to develop Amaravati as the capital city within six months has been put on hold by the Supreme Court.

Courts cannot become a town planner and Chief Engineer,” a bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna stated. The directions issued by the high court were found to violate the “separation of powers” principle by the top court.

The government of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had filed an appeal with the bench.

On January 31, the court said it would look into the legal issues in the case.”Is there no separation of power in the state of Andhra Pradesh,” the bench asked.

“How can high court begin acting as executive?” he asked, referring to the March 3 order that required the state to “construct and develop Amaravati capital city and capital region within six months.”

In addition, the high court had given the state government and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority a one-month deadline to finish developing the Amaravati capital city and region’s infrastructure and providing basic amenities like roads, drinking water, drainage, and electricity.

In September, the state government had filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging the high court order that had put a halt to its ambitious three-capital plan for the state.

According to the state’s appeal, which was filed by Advocate Mahfooz A. Nazki, “to hold that the state does not have the power to decide on its capital is a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution.”

By establishing three capitals—the executive capital in Visakhapatnam, the legislative capital in Amaravati, and the judicial capital in Kurnool—the state government had made it abundantly clear that it was committed to the decentralization of governance. It had made it clear that it was fully capable of reorganizing its capital.

The high court stated in its March 3 order, which was 307 pages long, that Amaravati would serve as the common capital for all three civic wings of the state: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. This was trailed by a huge number of requests documented by the landowners who had surrendered their horticultural land in the Land Pooling plan for improvement of the capital city and the capital locale.

The petitioner landowners had gone to the High Court to challenge the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Act, 2020, and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, which the state wanted to use to change Amaravati as its capital.

During the hearing, the state repealed this law, and the high court was informed of this. The state had claimed that the HC could not have continued after the withdrawal.

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