New Delhi: The Centre filed a reply in the Supreme Court in response to the petition filed by a senior Congress leader Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy, on the pending promise of bifurcation of the High Court between AP and Telangana states and squarely blamed the government of Andhra Pradesh for the delay. “The Centre had provided all the necessary funding to Andhra Pradesh in this regard and it was up to the residuary state to go ahead. Once it did so, the Centre would make the appropriate move for bifurcation,” the reply said.
The issue has been hanging fire since the state bifurcation but the HC could not be divided due to various reasons. The two state governments have been blaming the Centre for the delay in the HC bifurcation even as the legal fraternity in Telangana has been vociferously demanding the bifurcation citing injustice to the state.
The reply filed by the department of justice details the demand and the response of the Centre while reiterating that “in so far as allocation of finances are concerned, it is submitted that it is not within the competence or jurisdiction of the answering respondent to allocate finances as there was no scheme under the aegis of the answering respondent to support infrastructure development of the High Court and hence there is no budget provision available with the answering respondent”.
The department, however, submitted that the Government of India, ministry of finance, had provided funds to ‘the State of Andhra Pradesh, including for creation of essential facilities including Raj Bhawan, High Court, Secretariat, Assembly, etc. The state government was responsible for meeting the expenditures for running the High Court of the particular state. Similarly, the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court was responsible for running the day to day administration of the Court,” it said.
Therefore, “the Central government could not decide unilaterally where the location of the High Court should be and the High Court had to decide the same along with the state government of Andhra Pradesh. However, the latter had not intimated the readiness of necessary infrastructure for setting up of separate High Court for the State of Andhra Pradesh,” the Centre said.
Once the state government, in consultation with the High Court, created all necessary infrastructure for a separate High Court and communicated its readiness, the Centre would take further necessary action to issue necessary notification in accordance with law, the reply said.
In so far as the issue of judges’ strength of the common High Court was concerned, the same had been increased from 49 to 61 and communicated to the High Court and that· out of this 61 judges, the judges strength for the state of Andhra Pradesh would be 37 (Permanent: 28, Additional: 9) and judges’ strength for the state of Telangana would be 24 Judges (permanent 18 and additional 6).