All these days, the NDA government at the Centre has been taking a diplomatic stand on Amaravati, the capital city in Andhra Pradesh and trying to distance itself from the controversy over shifting of administrative capital to Visakhapatnam.
The Centre has submitted two separate affidavits to the state high court saying that the centre had no role whatsoever to decide on the location of the capital and that it is completely the state government’s prerogative to decide where the capital city of the state should be.
But on Thursday, the Centre, for the first time, virtually endorsed the proposal of the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government to carve out three capitals for Andhra Pradesh.
The Union ministry of home affairs indicated the same in its additional affidavit submitted in the state high court.
In the affidavit, MHA Under Secretary Lalitha T Hedaoo strongly condemned the argument put forth by the petitioner Done Sambasiva Rao that the AP Re-reorganisation Act had mentioned about “a capital for the state of Andhra Pradesh” but not “capitals” and hence, the Jagan government cannot create three capitals.
“It is totally wrong and hence denied. Section 13 of 'The General Clauses Act, 1897 states that in all Central Acts and regulations, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context, words in the singular shall include the plural and vice versa,” Lalitha said.
The general clauses act states that: words importing the masculine gender shall be taken to include females; and words in the singular shall include the plural, and vice versa.
“Thus, it is made amply clear that the interpretation of the petitioner on the above issue is shallow,” the MHA official said.
The MHA official further said the Centre had extended financial assistance to AP for creation of essential facilities in their new capital like Secretariat, Raj Bhavan, High Court etc. 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.
The MHA official also said under Article 3 of the Constitution of India, 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.
She also made it clear that there is no provision in the Act to say that the principal seat of high court should also be in the capital city.
“Notification of President's Order regarding constitution of a separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh with principal seat at Amaravati by the Centre cannot be construed as the Central Government's decision to declare Amaravati as Capital of Andhra Pradesh, as the Principal Seat of High Court need not necessarily be in the Capital City of the State,” she argued.