Farmers win battle against Jagan government

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy

Highlights

The ruling of the Andhra Pradesh High Court that the AP Legislature had no competence to alter the Amaravati Capital plan drawn by the previous government and for which several agreements had been executed between the people and the government agencies, comes as a great relief to the farmers who pooled their valuable lands and handed over to the government for their dream capital.

The ruling of the Andhra Pradesh High Court that the AP Legislature had no competence to alter the Amaravati Capital plan drawn by the previous government and for which several agreements had been executed between the people and the government agencies, comes as a great relief to the farmers who pooled their valuable lands and handed over to the government for their dream capital.

The order sought completion of all developmental works as promised in the slew of agreements with the people in six months so that the Capital city stand tall and proud in its planned space. As the High Court has termed it was a fight between the poor and the mighty – a re-enactment of David and Goliath – and the poor had no means to fight. All that the farmers could do was go on a Gandhian way of protest demonstrations. Here was a government that promised a capital and sought people's cooperation. Thousands of acres of land were given for the pooling with the fondest hope that the dream of a new capital for the residual State of Andhra Pradesh would come true. A new government came up and dumped the plans and instead announced three capitals. This led to a long litigation and it took several turns and twists. The judiciary itself was targeted over this and other things. Judges were accused of securing 'pecuniary benefits' and were asked to recuse themselves from the case by a petitioner.

A judge of the Apex Court (the present CJ) was also dragged into the muck along with other HC judges and a culture of debasement sets in. Amaravati Capital issue is essentially a political fight between the present government and the previous one. The present government entertained apprehensions over the genuinity of the land pooling effort of the previous government and suspected that the previous leaders resorted to insider trading.

The issue soon snowballed into a major political and legal controversy that led to the neglect of the Capital region. All developmental works came to a grinding halt and the entire area soon resembled a bombed Syrian city. The present rulers dubbed the region as the land of the greed. All that they achieved was turning it into the land of the damned. When the locals protested, they were branded TDP workers and sympathisers.

All this led to the long-winding litigation wherein the petitioners vehemently challenged the power of Andhra Pradesh State Legislature to enact any law for trifurcating or bifurcating the capital or to shift the capital from Amaravati to any other place. Since the petitioners questioned the very legislative competency of the State Legislature, the court was required to adjudicate upon the issue too.

Meanwhile, the government ordered withdrawal of the CRDA only to revert to status quo. Finally, the High Court ruled against the 'politics' and held that the rights of the petitioners were inalienable as those were all agreements as per the law. And no government had any right to undo what the previous government had done through a legislative and administrative process. Of course, all this does not mean the end of litigation. The State government would soon challenge the order in the Supreme Court and the wait for justice once again begins. Only a battle is won so far, but the war remains.

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