The Andhra Pradesh assembly has asserted that the legislature is equally supreme and independent like the judiciary. The house advised the judiciary to respect the other constitutional institutions of legislature and executive. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged that the judiciary had crossed its limits by making a statement that the state legislature had no right or was not competent to make laws on the capital issue.
Speaking in the assembly during a short discussion, Jagan said the six-month deadline set by the court for the government to develop Amaravati as the state’s only capital was “impossible”.
The chief minister said that the union government had on several occasions categorically stated that the decision on the capital was vested with the state government. “Even in the affidavit given to the high court, the union government had made it clear that the decision on the capital is vested with the state government and the central government has no role in it,” Jagan said reading from one of the affidavits filed by the central government.
“If we are told that we cannot even pass a resolution on decentralisation of development, the line is crossed…,” he said.
The assembly took up discussion on the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s observation that the state government has no powers to change the capital and change the legislation relating to the capital. The high court had said that the parliament alone was the competent authority to establish three organs of the state — judiciary, legislature and executive — but not the state legislature.
Calling the legislature, judiciary and executive the “three pillars” of the Constitution, Jagan said Thursday that all three must work well within their domain and not interfere with or “dominate” other domains.
Former minister and YSR Congress member Dharmana Prasada Rao wrote a letter to Jagan seeking a discussion in the House on the observations of the high court.
Following this, the house took up discussion on the court’s observation that the state legislature was not competent to make laws on the capital.
Jagan also quoted from the written reply of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to a question by Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas on 11 February 2020 that “the capital city is decided by the respective state government. The union government has no role in it.”
“The recent verdict of the Andhra Pradesh High Court appears to be a trespass into the legislative terrain though our constitution has laid down the framework of the three pillars of executive, legislature and judiciary. We felt that the limits were crossed and hence this discussion had to be taken up in the house,” the chief minister said, adding that “courts should not get into the state government’s domain of making laws”.
The Jagan government had, after coming to power in 2019, envisaged the development of Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as the state’s legislative, executive and judicial capitals, respectively. However, the HC verdict has come as a significant legal stumbling block to its plans.