Capital row: A 60-year-old report may offer solution

Published: 07th September 2013 10:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2013 10:21 AM   |  A+A-

We present here excerpts from Justice KN Wanchoo’s report on the financial and other implications relating to the new Andhra State submitted to the Centre in 1952. Since similar issues are being debated even now in the context of the division of Andhra Pradesh, Wanchoo’s report could provide some direction to the present discourse

Capital of New State

There is no place where the temporary capital can be shifted at once (with perhaps the possible exception of Waltair-Visakhapatnam with which I shall deal later). the best solution would be to allow the temporary capital of the new State to be located in the City of Madras for a period of three to five years at the outset.

It should be clearly understood that the jurisdiction over the City of Madras will in all matters rest in the residuary State and the Government of the new State will merely be in the nature of of guests or tenants in Madras City. I any case if the temporary capital of the new State is located in Madras city, it will be for the government of India to make it clear that the location is only temporary, for a fixed period, and to see that the Andhra Government gets out after the period is over.

This solution is, in may opinion, the best and if it can be enforced, it will minimise many of the difficulties inherent in the birth of a new State. If, however, for any reason it is not possible to locate the Andhra capital even temporarily in Madras City for a limited period, an alternative solution has to be looked for.

That alternative solution is to shift certain essential parts of the Government form Madras City at once. These essential parts are the Governor, the Legislature, the Ministers and the Secretariat and certain other essential Heads of Departments like the Inspector General of Police. The one place in Andhra Desa to which all these officers can be shifted (though even there difficulties will be great) is Waltair-Visakhapatnam.

There are a number of large vacant buildings available there. Some of these are not in very good condition but they can be make to serve the purpose with small expenditure on repairs. The Headquarters of the District will have to be shifted from there to Vizyanagaram where, I understand, there is sufficient space for their location, though here again difficulties will be felt. It should, however, be clearly understood that this shift to Waltair-Visakhapatnam is merely for the temporary location of the capital.

This place is at one end of the new State and would, from the geographical point of view, be inconvenient as a permanent capital. Waltair-Visakhpatnam has already got a harbour and the university and is a city which will grow whether the capital is placed there or not. It will be best to have all the important organs of the Government at once place. The task of organisation and settlement will require day-to-day consultations and these will be facilitated if all the important organs of the executive Government are, as far as possible, in one place.

That is why I have suggested a place which is in one corner of the new State for the temporary location of the capital for a period of, say, five years till the new State builds a permanent capital at a more suitable place. This alternative solution should only be thought of if it is not possible to locate the temporary capital of the new State in Madras City even for the short period mentioned by me above.

High Court

So far as the permanent location of the High Court is concerned, the main question, however, is about the temporary location of the High court of the new State and whether there should be a separate High Court for the new State from the very beginning. In one sense, the High Court is a smaller institution than the executive Government because the number of judges, officers and clerks employed in the High Court is smaller than the number of Ministers, and officers and clerks in the Secretariat.

It is, therefore, even more necessary that the High Court should remain in Madras for some time to come and the period at which I would put it would be longer than the period I have recommended for the executive Government. It will, therefore, be conducive to efficiency and will lead to least disturbance if with the creation of the new State the jurisdiction of the Madras High Court is extended to it under Article 230 of the Constitution.

But as the High Court will be looking after two States, certain conventions may have to be observed in order that there may not be friction in the day-to-day working. The Andhra Wing may consist of six judges and the Non-Andhra wing of the remaining nine judges. It may be left to the Chief Justice and the judges to separate these tow Wings. The Chief Justice will preside over both the Wings. I understand that it would be possible for the High Court to work this convention satisfactorily till a separate High Court can be conveniently created for the new State after five to 10 years.

As per the expenses of the High Court, I understand that the income form Court fee, stamps, etc., in the High Court is sufficient to meet the expenses. All this income should go to the residuary State and the residuary State should meet all the expenses of the High Court.

The Madras High Court having extended jurisdiction for a period of five to 10 years over Andhra State to begin with will be most conducive to efficiency and cause least disturbances to the litigant public and the lawyers and others. It is true that a separate High Court will have to come one day but the public will have notice of it well in advance as soon as the new State starts constructing a building for the High Court. The shifting will be so sudden after this period of five to 10 years is over that everybody would be expecting it to take place.

Finally, if, for some reason, the High Court has also to be separated and moved out of Madras City at once (though I would strongly recommend against this course), it may be located in Guntur till such time as proper buildings can be constructed for it is the place which is eventually decided upon as its permanent seat.

Governor

It would be advantageous to have to separate Governor for the new State from the very beginning, whether the temporary capital is at Madras City or not. The new State will have a large number of problems and a whole-time Governor would be desirable so that his advice and guidance may be available all the time. It is also possible that there may be problems in which the interests of the new State and the residuary State might conflict.

In such circumstances the position of a common Governor would be embarrassing. If the temporary capital of the new State remains in Madras City, its Governor can also stay there. There should be no difficulty in the matter of precedence as the Governor of the new State will be outside his State and will therefore rank below the Governor of the residuary State at all times. So long as the temporary capital is in Madras City, his permanent residence should be there. It would perhaps be difficult to find a suitable residence for the Governor just now in any town of the new State with the possible exception of Waltair-Visakhapatnam.

If the new Governor likes, a suitable place can be arranged for him at Waltair in one of the palaces of Rajahs which are lying vacant there. But if the temporary capital remains in Madras City, he will have to live there for most of the time and it should not be difficult to find a suitable  residence for him there.

Public Service Commission

It would be better if a separate Public Service Commission is established for the new State from the very beginning consisting of a Chairman and two members. The office of the Public Service Commission is a small one and should be shifted at once to a central place in the new State. I suggest that it may be shifted to Guntur where it will be possible to find accommodation for it.

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