The Centre has set a 45-day deadline to name Andhra Pradesh’s new capital in order to get around concerns that the proposal to give the Governor — and not the chief minister — the last word on law & order in Greater Hyderabad may not be legally sustainable.
According to the state reorganisation bill cleared by the Cabinet, Greater Hyderabad would be the joint capital of the two states — Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — for a maximum of 10 years.
According to sources, the home ministry felt that this was not a sound formulation and had tried to overcome any legal challenges by fast-tracking the setting up of Andhra’s new capital.
It was felt that if the new capital was named within 45 days of the reorganisation bill coming into force, Seemandhra leaders might prefer to move to the new capital rather than run Andhra from Telangana’s Hyderabad.
“The Centre seems to have tried to get around a political problem but has ended up creating a legal tangle,” said Gautam Pingle, formerly at the Administrative Staff College of India in Hyderabad.
A provision was incorporated in the bill that gave the Governor of the two states the power to “exercise his/her individual judgement” after consulting the Telangana chief minister on matters related to law and order as well as security. But law and order is a state subject.
According to the cabinet note accessed by Hindustan Times, the law ministry had raised serious objections to plans to get Parliament to restrict powers of an elected government on matters placed by the Constitution in the State List.
The home ministry felt the only way to use Hyderabad as a common capital as recommended by the Congress Working Committee was to make it a Union Territory but the pro-Telangana parties didn’t agree.