Special Category Status and States

AP approaches SC over Three Capitals Issue


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Three Capitals Issue in AP


After much discontent on the High Court (HC) verdict in the three capitals case, the Andhra Pradesh government has finally challenged it in the Supreme Court through a special leave petition (SLP).

AP’s move for three capitals

  • AP had introduced a ‘Three Capitals Act’ titled Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020.
  • Thus, it was decided that:
  1. Amaravati was to be the Legislative capital
  2. Visakhapatnam the Executive capital and
  3. Kurnool the Judicial capital
  • However, the Andhra Pradesh High Court repealed this Act citing that the legislature has no competence to enact any law for shifting the three organs of the capital.

Concerns raised by AP government

  • AP contended that the judgement was in violation of the basic structure of the Constitution as the HC cannot hold that the State does not have the powers to decide on its capital.
  • The judgement was against the doctrine of separation of powers as it sought to preempt the legislature from taking up the issue (of three capitals).
  • Further, it is argued that under the federal structure of the Constitution, every State has an inherent right to determine where it should carry out its capital functions from.

Reasons for AP’s consideration

(1) Viable option of Visakhapatnam

  • Vizag always had been the biggest city, after Hyderabad, even in the combined State.
  • It has all the settings to become a good living space.

(2) Sri Krishna panel recommendations

  • The advantages and qualities of Visakhapatnam to become the capital was elaborately deliberated by the Sri Krishna Committee to study the alternatives for a new capital for the State of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Coming to suggestion for the alternative capital, the Committee primarily took up three things for consideration — creation of single city or super city in greenfield location, expanding existing cities and distributed development.

(3) Decentralisation

  • This idea was elaborately described in the Sri Bagh pact.
  • The pact clearly defined decentralisation, for the benefit of all three main regions such as Coastal AP, Godavari and Krishna districts and Rayalaseema.

Major practical problems

  • Continuum of work: The government argues that the Assembly meets only after gaps of several months, and government Ministers, officers, and staff can simply go to Amaravati when required.
  • Logistics nightmare: coordinating between seats of legislature and executive in separate cities will be easier said than done.
  • Time and costs of travel: The distances in Andhra Pradesh are not inconsiderable. Executive capital Visakhapatnam is 700 km from judicial capital Kurnool, and 400 km from legislative capital Amaravati.

Examples of multi-capital states in India

  • Among Indian states, Maharashtra has two capitals– Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).
  • Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter).
  • The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals where Darbar Move is carried out.

Back2Basics: Special Leave Petition

  • SLP hold a prime place in the Indian judicial system.
  • It provides the aggrieved party a special permission to be heard in Apex court in appeal against any judgment or order of any Court/tribunal in the territory of India.
  • It has been provided as a “residual power” in the hands of Supreme Court of India to be exercised only in cases when any substantial question of law is involved, or gross injustice has been done.
  • Article 136 vests the Supreme Court of India with a special power to grant special leave, to appeal against any judgment or order or decree.
  • It is discretionary power vested in the Supreme Court of India and the court may in its discretion refuse to grant leave to appeal.
  • The aggrieved party cannot claim special leave to appeal under Article 136 as a right, but it is privilege vested in the Supreme Court to grant leave to appeal or not.


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