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SC stays Andhra HC’s order to develop Amaravati as state capital in 6 month

New Delhi: On Monday, The Supreme Court stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court's march order and has directed the state government to develop Amravati as the state capital within the next six months. A bench of justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said, “Courts cannot become a town planner and Chief Engineer". The top court found the directions issued by the high court to have overstepped the “separation of power” principle.

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: On Monday, The Supreme Court stayed the High Court of Andhra Pradesh march order and has directed the state government to develop Amravati as the state capital within the next six months. A bench of justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said, “Courts cannot become a town planner and Chief Engineer”. The top court found the directions issued by the high court to have overstepped the “separation of power” principle.

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The Supreme Court order said, “Supreme Court issues notice on a plea of Andhra Pradesh government challenging the judgment of the HC declaring Amaravati as the only capital of the State. Supreme Court also stays the March 3 directions of the High Court to complete the construction work for the capital in six months.”

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government. The court said it would examine the legal questions related to the matter on January 31. In September, the state government had moved to the apex court against the order by the High Court that had stalled its three-capital plan for the state. The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government wanted to make three state capitals in different cities of the state, for developmental reasons in all parts of the state.

The bench said, “Has there not been a division of power in the state of Andhra Pradesh. How can the High Court start functioning as executive,” referring to the March 3 order in which the state was directed to “build and develop Amaravati capital city and capital region within six months”.

The state government had challenged the March 3 order of the High Court through the state’s advocate, Mehfooz Nazki, saying that the issue had become infructuous as the impunged legislation had been repealed. The state government had made it clear that it was committed to the decentralisation of governance by forming three capitals – executive capital at Visakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravati and judicial capital at Kurnool. It had stressed that it had all the powers to reorganise its capital.

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The high court had said that all three civil wings of the state – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary – would have the common capital at Amaravati. This was followed by several petitions filed by landowners who had given up their agricultural land in the land pooling scheme for the development of the capital city and capital region.

The petitioner landowners had challenged before the high court the Andhra Pradesh Capital Development Authority Repeal Act, 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, by which the state wanted to replace Amaravati as the state capital. This law was repealed by the state while the trial was in progress and the same was reported to the High Court. The state had alleged that once withdrawn, the HC could not proceed further.

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