High Court Can’t Be “Engineer”: Supreme Court On Its Andhra Capital Order

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The Supreme Court today sought responses from farmers and their associations, and the Centre to a plea by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the high court decision which said the state legislature “lacked competence” to make any law for shifting, bifurcating or trifurcating the capital.

It observed the Andhra Pradesh High Court cannot be a “town planner” or an “engineer” and direct the government that the capital city should come up in six months.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna also stayed time-bound directions issued by the high court, including the one that said the state will construct and develop Amaravati capital city and capital region within six months.

The high court had also ordered the government and the authorities concerned to complete infrastructure development like roads, drainage and electricity and drinking water supply in the Amaravati Capital City and Region within one month.

The SC bench said it needs to examine the issue at length and posted a batch of petitions filed by the State, farmers, associations and their committees for further hearing on January 31.

The top court, which asked the parties to file their responses by December, was informed by senior advocate KK Venugopal that the state government has repealed the law for having three different capitals of the State.

On March 3, the high court had said the inaction of the State and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA’s) failure to develop the capital city and capital region as agreed to in terms of the Development Agreement-cum-Irrevocable General Power of Attorney, is nothing but a deviation from the promise made by the State, defeating legitimate expectation.

It had said the State and the APCRDA violated the fundamental rights of the petitioners (farmers), as they surrendered their only source of livelihood-over 33,000 acres of fertile land.

The high court had passed its 300-page verdict on a batch of 63 writ petitions filed by aggrieved farmers of Amaravati region against Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s decision to make Visakhapatnam the Executive Capital, Kurnool the Judiciary Capital and Amaravati as the Legislative Capital of Andhra Pradesh.

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