Amaravati: In a setback to Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government’s plans to develop three state capitals, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday directed it to complete implementation of Amaravati capital city master plan in six months.
The court also asked the government to hand over developed plots with all basic amenities to farmers within three months. The government was also asked not to alienate lands in Amaravati for any work other than development of state capital.
It also made it clear that the Assembly has no powers to make laws on state capitals.
A bench of three judges headed by Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra pronounced the judgment on 75 petitions filed by Amaravati farmers and others challenging the government’s move for trifurcation of state capital.
The court directed the government to keep it informed about the development works taken up as per capital city master plan.
Counsel of one of the petitioners told media persons that the bench directed the government not to shift any office from Amaravati as the earlier interim order in this regard will remain in force.
The government was directed to pay Rs 50,000 each to the petitioners towards legal costs.
The Andhra Pradesh government on Nov 22, 2021 repealed two laws enacted last year to create three state capitals but announced that it will come out with a new comprehensive legislation.
The Assembly passed Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of all Regions Repeal Bill 2021. The Bill repealed the Andhra Pradesh Decentralization and Inclusive Development of all Regions Act 2020 and the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region development Authority Repeal Act 2020 Act.
The government, however, had made it clear that it had not gone back on the decision to have administrative, legislative and judicial capitals at Visakhapatnam, Amaravati and Kurnool respectively.
The development had come as the High Court was to resume hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the two legislations made in 2020.
After coming to power in 2019, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) had reversed the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the only state capital. This had triggered massive protest from farmers of Amaravati, who had given 33,000 acres of land for the capital and were hoping to reap its economic benefits.
The farmers, women and others have been protesting against the trifurcation for more than 800 days.
Soon after the High Court pronounced its orders on Thursday, celebrations erupted in Amaravati. Farmers hailed the court orders as victory of truth and justice.