The Supreme Court has stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s judgement from March, which instructed the state administration to transform Amaravati into the capital city within six months. “Courts cannot become a town planner and Chief Engineer,” a bench of justices led by KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said. The Supreme Court determined that the high court’s directives went too far in terms of the “separation of powers” principle.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government. The court said that it will examine the legal questions involved in the matter on January 31. The bench said, “Is there no separation of power in the state of Andhra Pradesh. How can high court begin acting as executive,” referring to the March 3 order by which the state was directed to “construct and develop Amaravati capital city and capital region within six months’ time”.
The high court also mandated that basic amenities like roads, drinking water, drainage, and electricity be provided in the Amaravati capital city and region within a month of receiving the development and infrastructure order from the state government and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority.
In September, the state government filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging the ruling of the high court that had halted its ambitious three-capital plan for the state.
“To hold that the state does not have the power to decide on its capital is violative of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the state said in its appeal filed through advocate Mahfooz A Nazki.
The establishment of three capitals—executive capital in Visakhapatnam, legislative capital in Amaravati, and judicial capital in Kurnool—by the state administration demonstrated its dedication to decentralising power. It had emphasised that it had the authority to restructure its capital.
Landowners who filed the petition opposed the state’s plans to replace Amaravati as the state capital by opposing the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Act of 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act of 2020 before the High Court. While the hearing was taking place, the state repealed this law, and the high court was notified of this. The state claimed that after withdrawing, the HC was unable to continue.