Over the last few days, the media has carried reports about various purported recommendations with regard to the formation of Telangana State. These proposals include: Vesting of law and order in Hyderabad City in the Governor of Telangana; Investing the powers relating to Land Revenue and Municipal Administration of Hyderabad City in the Governor of Telangana and that persons from the residuary part of State of Andhra Pradesh be treated as “locals” for the purpose of education and healthcare in the City of Hyderabad upon bifurcation of the State. We give our responses to these proposals in the light of the legal/constitutional provisions
Central control unviable
We exhort the GoM to follow earlier precedents and not to tinker with the status of Hyderabad in any form. We urge them to follow the same procedure for Hyderabad, which was earlier followed in case of the cities of Madras, Bombay and Shillong.
The proposal to keep Hyderabad as a joint/common capital with powers over law and order, land revenue, urban administration, education and health care etc vested in the Union Government through the Governor of Telangana State is not a viable option for various reasons.
Jurisdiction of capital
We would like to point out that formulations on the territorial limits of the common capital (Hyderabad District, GHMC or HMDA) are totally unacceptable and impractical as they infringe on the territorial integrity of the State of Telangana which is to comprise all the 10 districts of the region as per the decision of the Union Cabinet.
Hyderabad revenue district has an area of 217 sq kms. GHMC, spread over 922 sq kms, straddles the areas of three districts - Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Medak. HMDA, on the other hand, comprises 7,257 sq kms of area forming part of five revenue districts, including Nalgonda and Mahbubnagar.
Therefore, we would like to reiterate that only Khairatabad mandal area in Hyderabad revenue district should be designated as the common area for housing the Secretariat, Legislature and other offices of the residuary State of AP for serving as an interim capital before the Government of residuary State moves out to cities in its own territory within a short time.
Land Revenue affairs
Another suggestion ascribed to the Ministry of Home Affairs is to bring revenue (land) administration in Hyderabad within the purview of the Union Government through the Governor of Telangana. This suggestion is totally impractical.
Taking away the revenue administration of Hyderabad would mean putting Hyderabad District Collectorate under the effective control of the Union Government. This would mean that the State of Telangana would have no control over Hyderabad. This proposal is totally unacceptable to us.
There is also a proposal to put a restriction on the powers of the State of Telangana to review land allotments done in the past. This would effectively legalize all the land allotments made by successive governments/chief ministers of AP, by flouting various rules and laws, including allotment of wakf lands in Manikonda Jagir, Maheshwaram and other places to Lanco, Emaar, GMR and various other companies and also alienation of prime government lands to IMG Bharatha. We feel this provision should not be incorporated in the Bill. There is absolutely no necessity for handing over any land revenue or land administration authority or power to the Governor. Despite the formation of the State of Andhra Pradesh, several laws applicable in the erstwhile State of Hyderabad were continued separately in Telangana and separate Land Revenue laws were applied in the remaining part of the State (the now proposed residuary Andhra Pradesh).
Law and order in Hyderabad
Police is a state subject. Delhi pattern does not apply here because Delhi is a UT while Hyderabad is not. As an integral part of Telangana, it can never be brought under Central control merely to cool down emotions elsewhere.
Nowhere in India has a State been divested of key subjects in the State list, either in part or whole. The long suffering Telangana should not be subjected to this indignity. Invoking Article 258A or any other legal device to entrust key powers of the State to the Union is, therefore, not the correct structural response, because it is the local police who have to deliver on the ground.
To allay fears, if necessary, a Security Board can be set up with the Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and DGPs of both States and Union Government representatives to oversee and ensure (a) structural adequacy, (b) functional efficiency and (c) integrity of the police force in both States. The board can have systems for community interface to ensure the fulfillment of the objective of providing security to all citizens. The functions, powers and responsibilities of the board can be defined and agreed to by the two State Governments and the Union Government.
The only way is to proceed with the process of bifurcation of AP on the basis of time-tested principles followed successfully in the creation of Andhra State (from Madras State) in 1953, Gujarat State (from Bombay State) in 1960, Meghalaya State (from Assam) in 1972, Chhattisgarh (from Madhya Pradesh), Jharkhand (from Bihar) and Uttarakhand (from Uttar Pradesh) in the year 2000. As per the Principle of Territoriality, the Successor State assumes jurisdiction, rights, powers and responsibilities of the territories assigned to it. Since Telangana has to be formed with 10 districts, it alone has to have complete powers and responsibilities over all functions under the State List in its jurisdiction, including Hyderabad. Therefore, any demand for a joint capital with claims over Hyderabad, territorial or otherwise, by the residuary State, would be a deviation from and violation of the Principle of Territoriality.
To address any grievance with regard to the making of provision for the security of persons of nativity from residuary State of Andhra Pradesh living in Hyderabad, there are sufficient provisions in the Constitution including under Article 355 and Article 356 to enable the President to take over any or all of the functions of the State Government in respect of a part or the whole of the State.
Hyderabad Revenue sharing
There are no constitutional provisions or precedents for such revenue-sharing. The Constitution provides for distribution of revenues between the Union and the States and between the State and the local bodies but there is no provision for sharing of revenues of one State with another State. A proposal for sharing of revenues of Hyderabad with two States will be not only bad in law but also set a bad precedent. Hence, we request the GoM to reject this specious and spurious suggestion.
The Constitution is very clear that municipal administration must be carried on only by Municipalities and the present existing Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1955 is in consonance with such constitutional principles. Therefore, entrustment of municipal functions to the Governor or a Central agency would defeat the constitutional purpose.
A suggestion has been made to treat the entire population of the residuary State of AP as “locals” for the purpose of educational opportunities in Hyderabad. This suggestion is ridiculous and goes contrary to the existing situation even within the existing State.
The people of Telangana are thankful to the Government of India for conceding their long-overdue demand. However, we are shocked and dismayed with various media reports about Antony committee proposals that covered a broad canvas of issues.
If true, as reported by media, they go against the basic tenets of the Indian Constitution. The proposals will create a special class of privileged people in Hyderabad city. Telangana people have precisely agitated against this manipulative & exploitative class. Hence, any attempt to mollify this class and perpetuate their hegemony in the city of Hyderabad will negate the very purpose of the creation of Telangana.
Unlike other statehood demands, demand for Telangana has its roots in the social, economic, political and cultural exploitation and discrimination.
The question that naturally comes to our mind is, as to whose problem are you addressing? Who had agitated and sacrificed for decades? Who had a grievance in Andhra Pradesh? Are you addressing the genuine concerns of the agitating Telangana people fighting for justice and equality or trying to protect the interests of the perpetrators of injustice?
It may not be out of place to mention that the people of Telangana have been agitating for equal opportunities in social and economic spheres of life and in particular, employment & education opportunities for nearly a century.
Hyderabad, with its environs is the only growth engine for entire Telangana. Any attempt to strip the democratically elected government of Telangana of its legitimate powers will debilitate the very state apparatus. It would not only adversely impact the brand image of Hyderabad city, but also hamper its future growth. That in turn, would have a domino effect on rest of Telangana.
The kind of restrictions/conditions that are being tagged on to Telangana state, if true, are going to create more problems than solve them. It is bound to increase the animosities among Telugu speaking people of different regions. Therefore, the new state of Telangana should be on par with the other 28 states of the country.
It is astonishing to hear the idea of Hyderabad revenue sharing. What is Hyderabad revenue? How does one define it? Let us try and understand it. It consists of corporate taxes paid by a large number of private and public sector undertakings situated in and around the city. They have consumed huge swathe of lands, polluted innumerable water bodies, including groundwater and destroyed the ambience in several adjoining districts. It has dislocated the lifestyle of millions. The overall socio-ecological costs are entirely borne by Telangana society. Hence, proposal of sharing Hyderabad revenue is not only illegal, unethical but also inhuman.