Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday, 23 January said the Constitution did not have the word 'capital' and claimed there was no need for any legislation to decide the seat of governance and a mere government resolution would suffice.
The Chief Ministers' remarks in the state assembly assume significance as his government faced roadblocks to enacting legislation aimed at having three capitals for the state in the opposition TDP-dominated Legislative Council on Wednesday, 22 January.
There is no word by name capital in the Constitution. It is the only seat of governance. The government has the freedom to decentralise the seat of governance for administration as per the power vested in it by the people, he said.
The YSR Congress chief was defending his government’s plan to have an executive capital in Visakhapatnam, judicial capital in Kurnool and legislative capital in Amaravati. He made the remarks while winding up an impromptu debate on whether or not the Legislative Council needs to be continued.
Interestingly, the YSR Congress government had got passed a resolution in the assembly, along with the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the APCRDA (Repeal) Bill on Monday, 20 January, on setting up the three capitals as part of "decentralization of administration and development.
The resolution only talked about the expansion of capital functions to three regions and avoided the word capital.
AP High Court Issues Directive of Maintaining the Status Quo
The bills, however, could not get cleared in the Legislative Council as they were referred to a select committee for deeper examination. No resolution on the capital issue was made in the Council.
Now that the Andhra Pradesh High Court virtually issued a direction for maintaining the status quo, the government cannot go ahead with the shifting of government offices based on the assembly resolution.
No Need for Law to Decide Seat of Governance
Reddy claimed there was no need for a law to decide the seat of governance. We can sit anywhere in the state and carry out the administration.
Chief Minister is the head of governance and is assisted by the Council of Ministers and the secretaries, which in turn is the Secretariat.
We need to enact no law for this, no need for any Bill. We can just pass a resolution and continue the administration, he maintained. There is no word capital in Constitution. This is reality. We can have the assembly anywhere in the state and make laws from anywhere as per Article 174, Jagan said.
He claimed that late J Jayalalithaa used to run the Tamil Nadu administration from 'Ooty' (Kodanad near Udhagamandalam) in that state. Governance happens from where the Chief Minister stays. If calamity strikes tomorrow the Chief Minister has to shift and stay there for 20 days. Where will governance happen in that case? It happens where the CM is, he said.
He recalled the cyclone Hudhud time in October 2014 when then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu stayed in Visakhapatnam for 10 days and ran the administration.
. Read more on India by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsIndia vs New Zealand 1st T20: Colin and Kane Fall After Fifties . Read more on India by The Quint.