Amid the row over the Andhra Pradesh capital issue, the Centre on Thursday maintained it has "no role" as the capital city of a state is decided by the respective state government even as the High Court made certain critical observations on the expenditure incurred.
A division bench, comprising Justices Rakesh Kumar, AV Sesha Sai and M Satyanarayana Murthy, while hearing a batch of petitions challenging the move to relocate the state capital, issued notice to the Accountant General seeking details on the money spent on the capital development. It posted the matter for further hearing to August 14.
In a counter-affidavit filed through assistant solicitor general N Harinath, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said the AP government vide an order on April 23, 2015, notified that the capital city be named as 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.
It also referred to the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, which provided that "there shall be three seats of governance" to be called as capitals (Legislative capital Amaravati, Executive capital Visakhapatnam and Judicial capital Kurnool).
The Centre also said it provided Rs 1,500 crore as assistance for capital city development under Sections 6 and 94 (3) and (4) of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
U Sravan Kumar, one of the petitioners, presented certain documents saying the (erstwhile) AP Capital Region Development Authority called for infrastructure development works worth Rs 52,000 crore in the Amaravati capital region.
Reacting strongly to this, the three-judge bench asked what was the total amount spent on capital city development so far.
"This is people's money. How much has been spent so far and at what stage are the constructions in? How many buildings have been completed and where have others stalled? How much money was paid to the contractors and how much is due," the bench asked the government.
"If the constructed buildings are not used, they get damaged. Who will foot the loss? It will not only be a waste
but also misuse of public money," the judges remarked.
The bench issued a notice to the Accountant General of the state to come out with full details and posted the matter to August 14.