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Just demands

Just demands
Highlights

The demand of Telangana Rashtra Samiti that the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad be bifurcated at once and for delimitation of Assembly Seats in both the Telugu States is justifiable by every yardstick. Both the issues, bifurcation of the High Court and delimitation of the Assembly seats, were provided for in the AP Reorganization Act, 2014 and there is no reason for prolonging the same endle

The demand of Telangana Rashtra Samiti that the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad be bifurcated at once and for delimitation of Assembly Seats in both the Telugu States is justifiable by every yardstick. Both the issues, bifurcation of the High Court and delimitation of the Assembly seats, were provided for in the AP Reorganization Act, 2014 and there is no reason for prolonging the same endlessly.

All that the Centre needs to do is take up the issue of HC bifurcation promise at the Cabinet meet and make a recommendation to the President for his assent. Is this such a difficult exercise? It requires a political will and that is all. Similarly, when it comes to delimitation, increasing the number of seats in Telangana from 119 to 153 and that of AP from 175 to 225 is also not a time-consuming matter.

The Centre has so far held back on this citing the limitation of Article 26(1) of the Act by Article 170 of the Constitution which prohibits redistribution of Assembly seats till 2026. Considering that the Act of 2014 was passed under Articles 2, 3 and 4 of the Constitution, it is powerful enough to mandate the amendment of any other provisions under the Constitution to fulfil its objectives.

The Supreme Court held this on multiple occasions (in the 1967 case of Mangal Singh and the recent 2006 case of Mullaperiyar), wherein it said that amendments to the Constitution under Article 3 and 4 are not fettered or held back by other constitutional articles. In the Mangal Singh case, the court went so far as to say that the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966 overruled the provisions of Article 170 despite being in direct conflict with those.

The ruling party could take this up and do the needful. At the same time, the Congress too has a moral obligation to support the amendment of this Act to accommodate the delimitation of Assembly seats. However, the demand being raised now ahead of the winter session is to be seen in its context.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti is anticipating early elections in 2018 itself as the Bharatiya Janata Party is not expected to risk the regular schedule in view of the Assembly elections to three States Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where it is facing anti-incumbency.

Any setback in any or all of these States could be devastating for the ruling party in its run-up to the General Elections. Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao is sure to exploit the pending issues to the fullest now. In a way, he is hinting at the possibility that he could make these campaign issues in the coming elections.

The Centre is sure that any delimitation of seats would not go its way as it is only the regional parties that could benefit. Both the ruling parties in the Telugu States have encouraged large-scale defections from rival camps and are eager for delimitation so that they could accommodate all. Why would the BJP oblige them? A classic Tom and Jerry show!

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