The notification of the President's Order on the constitution of a separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh, with the principal seat at Amaravati, could not be construed as the Central government's decision to declare Amaravati as the capital of the state. The principal seat of the High Court need not necessarily be in the capital city of the state, the Centre maintained.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs made this assertion in an additional affidavit filed in the state High Court in the ongoing litigation against the state government's move to have three capitals for AP.
The HC is currently hearing a batch of writ petitions filed by various stakeholders seeking that the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, be declared as ultra vires to the Constitution of India.
The HC, while ordering status quo on the implementation of the Act and also the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Act, 2020, posted the case for further hearing to September 21.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs had already filed a counter-affidavit last month stating that the AP government vide an order on April 23, 2015, notified that the capital city be named Amaravati.
"It may be further mentioned that the capital city of the state is decided by the respective state government. The Central government has no role in it," the Centre said in its counter-affidavit.
"Section 94 (3) and (4) of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, only provides for financial assistance by the Central government to the state of Andhra Pradesh for creation of essential facilities in their new capital and to further facilitate de-notification of degraded forest land, if necessary, for the same. The provision only talks about providing financial assistance by the Central Government for the new capital as chosen by the state and not for deciding a capital by the Central government," the MHA averred.
"The Government of Andhra Pradesh had earlier chosen Amaravati as the capital of the state and had notified the same vide their Government Order dated April 23, 2015. Based on the said notification, Survey of India incorporated Amaravati as capital of Andhra Pradesh in the latest political map of India (English 9th Edition 2019 and Hindi 6th Edition 2020)," the MHA added.
The Centre said, "In pursuance of Article 214 of the Constitution and in exercise of powers conferred under provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, the President, vide an order dated December 26, 2018, constituted a separate High Court for the state of Andhra Pradesh from January 1, 2019 with the principal seat at Amaravati."
"Notification of the President's Order on the constitution of a separate High Court cannot be construed as the Central government's decision to declare Amaravati as the Capital of Andhra Pradesh," the MHA asserted in the additional affidavit.