‘Decision on capital within State’s competence’

It is not arbitrary, and is in consonance with the Centre’s sworn statement on the matter, government tells High Court

A day ahead of the expiry of the High Court’s status quo order on the implementation of the Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and CRDA Repeal Acts, the government filed a common counter affidavit on Thursday claiming that the related policy decision was within its competence and in consonance with the Central government’s sworn statement on the matter.

Constitutional obligation

In the affidavit, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department Special Secretary V. Rama Manohara Rao said the State government’s decision was not arbitrary, but was taken on the basis of various studies conducted by experts, and it (the government) had the obligation under Article 38 of the Constitution to ensure that there were no inequalities among the people in different areas.

The government argued that the questions of “legitimate expectation” and “promissory estoppel” did not arise as it was supposed to protect larger public interest. Besides, the references drawn to the A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014, were untenable, it stated.

Mr. Manohara Rao stated that the State had concluded that the decentralisation of seats of authority and development of all regions was the constitutional goal that the government intended to achieve to involve the entire population of the State in the development model conceived by it instead of sticking to the exclusionary one adopted by the previous dispensation.

Financial constraints

The financial constraints faced by the government was another factor that prompted it to embark on decentralisation, which was found to be ideal under the prevailing circumstances.

It had further been asserted that the rights of farmers who gave their lands for the development of the existing capital were being guaranteed, and their expectation that all the judicial and capital functions should be carried out from Amaravati at the cost of public interest was illegitimate.

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