The Andhra Pradesh government today made an abrupt decision to go back on its three-capitals proposal. The cabinet, which met at the assembly complex during the recession, resolved to repeal the three bills. Advocate General S Subramaniam informed the high court that the government has decided to withdraw the law.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court division bench headed by Chief Justice PK Mishra asked the AG to file a detailed affidavit.
The state cabinet conducted an emergency meeting and cleared the repeal bill to be introduced in the legislature, government sources said.
The YS Jaganmohan Reddy government had tabled the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, decentralising the administration, in January last year. It had proposed to make Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region the judicial capital, Visakhapatnam in the north Andhra region the executive capital and Amaravati in the coastal region as the legislative capital.
The government had proposed to move the high court and all judicial and legal institutions of the state to Kurnool while moving the administration to Visakhapatnam leaving the state legislature (both legislative assembly and legislative council) in Amaravati.
The move was opposed by all opposition parties and the farmers who had given more than 34,000 acres of lands in the pooling system to establish the capital in Amaravati. They had filed a number of cases challenging the three capitals bills. The cases are now being heard by the high court on a day-to-day basis.
Though the legislative assembly had passed the bills, they are still pending in the legislative council, which had referred them to a select council. The opposition TDP was in majority in the legislative council, which could push the bills to the select committee. Though the ruling party and the legislature secretariat claimed that the reference to the select committee was not made according to the rule book, it is learned that the high court is also looking into this issue seriously.
Chief Minister Reddy had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently and held a discussion for over 1.5 hours. He urged Shah to direct the authorities concerned to initiate the process of re-notification of locating the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Kurnool and also took it to his notice that the proposal was also part of the BJP’s official manifesto for 2019 state election.
The ruling YSRCP has now gained a full majority in the legislative council pushing the TDP to a minority in the house. While it is not known officially about the intentions of the government on repealing the three bills, it is believed that the government wants to reinitiate the process by getting the approval of the legislative assembly as well as the legislative council afresh to avoid legal scrutiny.