SC stays AP High Court's order to complete Amaravati capital construction in 6 months


New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) The Supreme Court on Monday in its interim order stayed the time-bound directions passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court to complete the construction work for the capital Amaravati, as the only Capital of the State.

It issued notice to the Centre and sought its reply on the state government's plea.

"We seek a response from the Central government, and other respondents on an appeal filed by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging a March 3, 2022, judgment of AP High Court declaring Amaravati as the only capital of the State," a two-judge bench of the Apex Court, led by Justice K M Joseph and also comprising Justice B V Nagarathna, said, in its interim order.

The Top Court also, in its order, stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court's directions to the State government to fully construct and develop the Amaravati capital city and capital region of the Andhra Pradesh State within six months, and posted the appeal filed by the AP State Government to January 31, next year.

"We are inclined to examine this issue. Issue notice to (Centre). Till the next date of hearing, there will be a stay Order," the Supreme Court said.

The Apex Court observed, "Courts can't become town planners."

The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government had decided to make three capitals in different cities in order to ensure development in all parts of the state.

It proposed executive capital in Visakhapatnam, judicial capital in Kurnool and the legislative capital in Amaravati but it failed to materialise due to numerous petitions filed before the High Court challenging the move.

The proposed formation of three capitals by the State government was challenged by the farmers of Amaravati in the State HC.

The farmers claimed that the government had entered into agreements with them for offering their land under the Land Pooling Scheme (LPS), promising to develop a new capital.

A division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra had held that the state legislature had no competence to make any legislation on the State capital and directed the state government not to shift any office from the present capital city of Amaravati.

The High Court said the state does not have the legislative competence to shift the capital to any area other than Amaravati which was notified under the AP Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act.

The High Court had on March 3, 2022, ordered the YSRCP government to develop Amaravati as the capital city as per the master plan and not to use the 33,000 acres of land pooled from the farmers by the erstwhile Chandrababu Naidu government for any purpose other than building the capital city.

Later, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government had moved the Supreme Court against the March 2022 judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High Court that ordered the state government against dumping the Greenfield capital city project at Amaravati.

The Andhra Pradesh government has filed the SLP before the Apex Court challenging the judgment of the High Court that held that the state does not have the legislative competence to shift the capital to any area other than Amaravati which was notified under the AP CRDA Act.

In May 2019, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government decided to scrap the unified Greenfield capital city project at Amaravati that was already halfway built. In its place, the Reddy government had proposed developing three capitals – executive capital at Visakhapatnam and judicial capital at Kurnool, while confining Amaravati to legislative capital.

Many farmers of Amaravati, who had given their thousands of acres of their agricultural lands for the capital city construction, moved the High Court against the decision of the Reddy government to shift the capital city.

The High court directed the government to construct and develop Amaravati capital city within six months as per the terms and conditions of development agreement-cum-irrevocable general power of attorney entered into with the farmers.