HYDERABAD: The Central government has defended its decision before the Hyderabad High Court with regard to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to create separate Telangana state.
It assured the court that Article 371-D would be implemented strictly in both Telangana and AP states.
Ministry of home affairs filed a counter affidavit before the High Court pursuant to its direction in a PIL challenging the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 by PV Krishnaiah, practicing advocate of the city.
The petitioner contended that the Centre has no power to divide a state which was formed after merging two territories. The state of Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956 after merging Telangana and the Centre’s decision to bifurcate the AP vide the AP Reorganization Act was unconstitutional and undemocratic.
The ministry, in the affidavit, submitted that in Article 3 of the Constitution there was no such provision which can bar the Parliament to carve out a separate state by merging two or more territories which were merged earlier for creation of a separate state. Previously states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were bifurcated in a similar manner.
It said that the new state of Telangana has been formed as per the provisions under Article 3 of the Constitution and the Article was not violating the preamble of the Constitution and its basic structure.
The ministry informed the court that after considering the recommendations of justice Srikrishna Committee and the opinions of all political parties expressed in the meeting conducted on Jan 6, 2011 by the Union government, the state of Telangana was created.
Referring to contentions of the petitioner that the Centre has no power to bifurcate AP as long as the Article 371-D is in force, the Centre submitted that the Parliament has extended the jurisdiction of the Article for both the states by incorporating a provision under AP Reorganization Act.
Refuting the contentions of the petitioner that the amendment to the Article in 1955 as ultra vires to the Constitution, the Centre submitted that prior to the amendment, the views of the State Assembly was ascertained not only with respect to introduction of the Bill for formation or separation of a state, but also the provisions thereof, but those words have been omitted in the amended proviso, the only requirement being a reference to the Bill which comes within purview of Article 3.
The Centre made it clear that the Parliament is not obliged to follow the views of the State Assembly.
The PIL is expected to come up for hearing before the division bench headed by the Chief Justice next week.