HCT proposal not acceptable

HCT proposal  not acceptable
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HCT Proposal not Acceptable, Telangana Legislative Assembly, Controls of Telangana. Even if Hyderabad is not called Union Territory, making it HCT and separating powers from Telangana Legislative Assembly to transfer those powers beyond the controls of Telangana to the Center will be certainly unconstitutional

Even if Hyderabad is not called Union Territory, making it HCT and separating powers from Telangana Legislative Assembly to transfer those powers beyond the controls of Telangana to the Center will be certainly unconstitutional

The AP’s Left-run-media has come up with a new ‘story’ that the Union Government is toying with the idea of converting ‘common capital’ of Hyderabad into Hyderabad Capital Territory (HCT) on the lines of National Capital Territory (NCT) Delhi, which is nothing but a Union Territory with no powers on key issues. The newspaper reported that as converting Hyderabad into HCT does not need Amendment to the Constitution, a bill would be introduced along with AP Reorganization Bill. But the same newspaper reported that NCT came into existence by way of 69th Constitutional Amendment. This contradiction in their own first page story on 18th November 2013 was left either unchecked or deliberate. When convertion of Delhi into NCT was necessitated by constitutional amendment, it is obvious that similar exercise is needed for HCT too. If HCT is made it will be Union Territory without powers to the elected representatives.

The 69th Amendment to the Constitution brought National Capital Territory (NCT) Delhi under rule of Lieutenant Governor, assisted, advised by a Council of Ministers formed out of elected Legislative Assembly, without any power to deal with land, law & order and police. There are some Union Territories without Legislative House while some were added with. Constituting Legislative House for New Delhi and Puducherry has undoubtely widened democratic representative character compared with other UTs which are governed by Center through Lt Governor. Even if, Hyderabad is not called Union Territory, making it HCT and separating powers from Telangana Legislative Assembly to transfer those powers beyond the controls of Telangana to the Center will be certainly unconstitutional.

It will be like Central rule in Hyderabad for ten years. It will not be acceptable to any section of Telangana people and will provoke fresh agitation in Telangana. By this Constitution (69th Amendment) Act of 1999 an article 239AA is added to the Constitution. Most important aspect is that the executive and legislative power of the NCT Delhi will extend to entries in List II (State) and III (Concurrent, which means both State and Center can make law on these entries) except matters with respect to Entries 1, 2 and 18 of State List and Entries 64, 65 and 66 of that List insofar as they relate to the said Entries 1,2, and 18.

a) Within List II (State) Entry 1 is Public order (but not including [the use of any naval, military or air force or any other armed force of the Union or of any other force subject to the control of the Union or of any contingent or unit thereof] in aid of the civil power),

b) Entry 2 is Police (including railway and village police) subject to the provisions of entry 2A of List I and

c) Entry 18 is: Land, that is to say, rights in or over land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land improvement and agricultural loans; colonisation. Entry 64: Offences against laws with respect to any of the matters in this List.

d) Entry 65: Jurisdiction and powers of all courts, except the Supreme Court, with respect to any of the matters in this List.

e) Entry 66. Fees in respect of any of the matters in this List, but not including fees taken in any court.

It is true that to make UT a simple majority is enough as that power is vested in Parliament under Article 3. The moment Hyderabad is called HCR it will be UT and Telangana Assembly would not have any power over their own Capital city. Seemandhra leaders are lobbying for not only making Hyderabad a UT but also to transfer key powers to Center, which cannot happen without Constitutional Amendment.

Hydereabad, a Psuedo UT?

Making HCT with indirect Union Territory status is nothing but surrendering sovereignty of Telangana people. In seven Union Territories in India, Administrator is the real ruler, in Delhi and Pondicherry where Legislative Assemblies and Chief Minister with Council of Ministers are provided. In general states the Governor will be a nominal head (called rubber stamp) with the chief minister exercising real executive power, but in UT, the Constitution itself converted a Chief Minister into a rubber stamp reducing the democracy into a mockery.

A chief minister in Union Territory will be a chief among all ‘rubber stamps’ in the Council. De jure head ruler in UT is the President and de facto head is the Administrator. In the present scheme of administration of Union Territory under Part VIII of the Constitution and the Government of Union Territories Act 1963 (UT Act), the Legislative Assembly is a farce and the Council of Ministers is a nominal body of executive with all real powers vested in Administrator and his final boss, the President. Here even the role of Union of Council of Ministers is doubtful, as Article 239 says Administrator can act ‘as he thinks fit’. The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 Section 44 (3) says he can act in his discretion, and his decision shall be final (4) & (5).

Administrator of UT is more powerful than the Governor of State, as he will not be just nominal head but real king under supervision of Union. Both the Constitution Article 239 AA and UT Act Section 44 give enormous powers to Administrator and then to the President. Artice 239AA (4) Provided that in the case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lieutenant Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President and pending such decision it shall be competent for the Lieutenant Governor in any case where the matter, in his opinion, is so urgent that it is necessary for him to take immediate action, to take such action or to give such direction in the matter as he deems necessary. In a state imposing President Rule is very difficult and complex process. But suspending power of Council of Ministers in UT is very simple, ie, the President can issue a direction suspending any provision relating to council of ministers as per Article 239 AB.

The Constitution (70th Amendment) 1992 has divested executive and legislative powers over public order, police, land and revenue from Delhi UT and vested in Union Government. Such transfer of power to the Center from New Delhi Union Territory may not affect the federal nature and Governance mechanism framed in our Constitution, simply because they function from same territory without any physical distance separating Union and UT. But shaping Hyderabad into HCT is indirect way of converting it into Union Territory which will affect the basic structure of the Constitution.

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