Amaravati jolt to Jagan: Supreme Court defers Andhra Pradesh petition to July 11

In a setback to YS Jaganmohan Reddy's Andhra Pradesh Government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant a stay on the High Court’s order on the Amaravati capital issue

SC to take up Amaravati capital petitions on Feb. 23; AP calls for expeditious hearing

NEW DELHI: In a setback to the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant a stay on the High Court’s order on the Amaravati capital issue while adjourning the matter for further hearing to July 11, 2023.

A division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice K M Joseph and Justice B V Naga Ratna turned down the frequent pleas of the counsel representing the Andhra Pradesh Government to take up the hearing on the Amaravati petitions immediately. The bench made it clear that it would not be possible to hold the hearing before July 11 in view of many important cases that need to be heard.

The counsel of Andhra Pradesh repeatedly appealed to the division bench to grant a stay on the order of the state High Court which ruled that Amaravati should be developed as the state capital. With the apex court not showing the inclination to give any interim orders on this, the counsel for Andhra Pradesh urged the division bench to at least take up their petition for hearing immediately. The Supreme Court however adjourned the matter to July 11 for next hearing while promising to take up the state’s petition as the first case on that day.

Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the State Government, contended that the verdict of the Andhra Pradesh High Court had no meaning especially after the legislation for the decentralisation of administration (three capitals) was withdrawn. The state’s contention however did not cut much ice with Justice K M Joseph, who is set to retire on July 16, 2023. With the retirement of Justice K M Joseph in the offing in July, the Andhra Pradesh government’s petition for a stay on the Amaravati capital issue is likely to come up before another division bench on July 11, 2023, which is only likely to upset its decentralisation plans further.

Justice K M Joseph cited the lack of time to hear prolonged arguments and then come up with his judgement as he was retiring on July 16. During the course of Tuesday’s hearing, the counsel for the respondents informed the division bench that some of the farmers who filed the petitions had passed away and sought the permission of the bench to include the representatives of the deceased farmers as respondents.

Responding positively to this, the division bench ordered notices to the representatives of the deceased respondents.

The Andhra Pradesh Government approached the Supreme Court challenging the state High Court’s verdict on the Amaravati capital issue and seeking a stay on it. The Amaravati farmers too filed a petition seeking the apex court’s directions to the State Government for a status quo on the high court verdict.

The Centre, in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court division bench, stated that Amaravati was created as the capital of the state as part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act. It also informed the Supreme Court that it was not aware of the three capitals proposal floated by the YS Jagan government.

The latest developments in the Supreme Court are likely to hamper the moves of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy to shift the state’s administration to Visakhapatnam. He has been frequently claiming in the recent past that he would be functioning from his new seat of power in Visakhapatnam from July this year.

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