The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014: An Overview

AMIDST MONTHS of tumult in and outside Parliament, the Parliament passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014,[1] thus paving way for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. On the Act coming into force, Telangana will achieve its 60 year old dream for statehood by becoming the 29th state of the Indian Republic. In its long journey to statehood, Telangana’s path has been strewn with agitations marked by violence, sacrifices, political vacillations and setbacks. Despite the State Reorganisation Commission, 1953 expressing its doubts of merging Telangana with Andhra[2] and recommending a separate Hyderabad State that may join Andhra on its own option later, the Centre proceeded to form Andhra Pradesh in 1956. However the Gentlemen’s Agreement and other safeguards which were envisaged to protect Telangana’s interests in development, water sharing, matters of employment opportunities and educational facilities etc. were not complied with, thereby leading to dissatisfaction among the masses and demand for separate statehood. In 1973, by an amendment to the Constitution,[3] article 371 D providing for a special provision for Andhra Pradesh was inserted and  equitable opportunities  for people  of different areas of the State in the matter of admission  to educational  institutions and public employment and constitution of Administrative  Tribunal  with  jurisdiction  to  deal  with    certain disputes  and  grievances relating to public services are given.   The demands for statehood still persisting with all its vigour led to Centre appointing a Commission in 2010 under B. N Srikrishna J. to hold consultations and suggest options for settlement of the issue. The Commission recommended separation only in case if it is unavoidable and if a decision can be reached amicably.[4] However, the Parliament, which has ample powers under article 3 of the Constitution for formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States, in spite of the Legislature voting against the resolution for forming Telangana passed the above Act.

 The Act provides for carving out Telangana from the existing state of Andhra Pradesh and it shall comprise of 10 districts. Hyderabad shall be the common capital of Telangana and state of Andhra Pradesh, for a period not exceeding 10 years, after which it will be the capital of Telangana and there will be a new capital for the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Act further states that Governor of the existing state of Andhra Pradesh shall continue to be Governor of both the successor states for such a period as may be determined by the President. He/ She will have special responsibility for the security of life, liberty and property of all the people in the common capital of Hyderabad. The responsibilities of the Governor shall extend to matters such as law and order, internal security and security of vital installations, and management and allocations of government buildings for in the common capital area. In discharge of functions, Governor shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers of Telangana state, will exercise his ‘individual judgment’ as to the action to be taken.[5] Further the High Court of judicature at Hyderabad shall be the common High Court for both states till a new High Court is set up for the State of Andhra Pradesh and there shall also be separate cadre of administrative services.[6] The Act further extends the special status which is given to Andhra Pradesh to Telangana and successor state of Andhra Pradesh under article 371D by amending it.[7]

[1] Passed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Feb. 18, 2014 and Feb. 20, 2014 respectively, received assent of the President on Mar. 1, 2014. 
[2] Para 359-393, State Reorganization Commission Report, 1955.
[3] The Constitution (Thirty Second Amendment) Act, 1973.
[4] 9.3.01, Report: Committee for Consultations on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2010).
[5] Sec 31.
[6] Sec. 77.
[7] Sec. 98.

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