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Centre asserts capital for Andhra Pradesh need not be single
- In an additional affidavit filed before AP High Court, an official of Union Ministry of Home Affairs dismisses the contention that three capitals move is against the provisions of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014
- The affidavit argues in Central laws, words in singular can also be taken as plural
Nelapadu (Amaravati): In an additional affidavit filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday, the Centre categorically stated that there is no stipulation in the law that requires Andhra Pradesh to have only one capital. It may be recalled that a bunch of petitions were filed in the High Court against the move of the government to introduce three-capital plan. The additional affidavit was filed in response to the writ petition filed by a farmer Done Sambasiva Rao and another which claimed that the three-capital plan was a violation of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Lalita T Hedaoo, undersecretary in the Union ministry of home affairs, refuted the argument that Andhra could not have three capitals because the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 mentioned "a capital for the state of AP" and not "capitals". She pointed to Section 13 of The General Clauses Act, 1897 that makes it clear that in all Central Acts and regulations, words in the singular shall include the plural and vice versa unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context.
On the argument that the Centre only gave grants for the development of capital city at Amaravati, the under secretary said the Centre had extended financial assistance to AP for creation of essential facilities in their new capital such as Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, High Court and to further facilitate denotification of degraded forest land, if necessary, for the same. "This provision is only for extending financial assistance to the capital city, but not to decide its location," she clarified.
Hedaoo pointed out that under Article 3 of the Constitution, there is provision only for creation of new states and other related matters. No provision in respect of capital is laid down in this article.
The MHA official refuted the argument that the Centre had endorsed Amaravati as the capital city while locating the state High Court as per the Presidential order. "Notification of President's Order regarding constitution of a separate High Court with principal seat at Amaravati by the Centre cannot be construed as its decision to declare Amaravati as capital, as the principal seat of High Court need not necessarily be in the capital city of the state," she asserted.
In an earlier affidavit, too, the MHA official made it clear that the Centre had no role whatsoever in the location or relocation of the state capital. "It is completely the state government's prerogative to decide where the capital city of the state should be located," she said.