The Andhra Pradesh High Court’s March judgment requiring the state government to transform Amaravati into the capital city within six months has been delayed by the Supreme Court. The KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna judicial bench ruled that courts could not serve as chief engineers and town planners. The supreme court determined that the high court’s directives violated the “separation of powers” principle.

The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s case was being heard by the bench. The court declared that it would review the relevant legal issues on January 31. Is there no separation of powers in the state of Andhra Pradesh, as the bench questioned? How can the high court start behaving like an executive? The Supreme Court asked in a March 3 ruling that the government “build and develop the capital city and capital region of Amaravati within a period of six months.”

The Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority and the state government were further ordered by the high court to complete infrastructure development in the Amaravati capital city and region, including the provision of basic amenities like roads, drinking water, drainage, and electricity, within a month.

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. The state stated thus in its appeal, which was submitted through attorney Mahfooz A. Nazki: “To hold that the state does not have the ability to decide on its capital is violative of the essential framework of the Constitution.” and the judicial capital in Kurnool—the state government demonstrated its dedication to decentralizing power. It emphasized that it had the authority to restructure its capital.

The high court declared that Amaravati will serve as the common capital for the state’s three civic pillars—the legislature, executive branch, and judiciary—in its lengthy, 307-page judgment from March 3. The landowners who had given up their agricultural land in the Land Pooling Scheme for the construction of the capital city and the capital region thereafter filed a flurry of petitions.

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.

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