Amaravati: The State of Andhra Pradesh on Monday informed the Supreme Court that its interim high court premises in its new capital city, Amaravati, will be ready by December 15 and the process of shifting of employees from Hyderabad will soon commence.
Senior advocate Fali Nariman, for Andhra, informed a Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that accommodation for judges would be ready in a few months and interim accommodation provided to them in the meanwhile would be satisfactory. The Bench said it would pass formal orders shortly in a day or two.
In an earlier hearing before the Bench, the Centre and Telangana were on the same page as far as providing “separate and independent” high courts for Andhra and Telangana were concerned.
Though the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in 2014, the high court is yet to be divided between the two new States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The High Court located in Hyderabad, which is now part of Telangana, is still hearing a mix of cases from both Andhra and Telangana.
The bone of contention which has brought the Centre to the Supreme Court is a 2015 order of the Hyderabad High Court.
The High Court had ordered the Centre to find a permanent site in the territory of the newly-formed Andhra and build a new High Court for the State there.
It had refused Telangana’s suggestion to temporarily partition the present high court building in Hyderabad so that both States could function separately in the same building. Telangana government had even offered to find an alternative site for a high court for Andhra in Hyderabad itself.
The 2015 order however did not settle for anything less than a permanent high court in the territory of Andhra itself. It had reasoned that a State’s high court cannot be located outside its territory.
The Centre, represented by Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, had in the previous hearing informed the Bench that it had released ₹500 crore on March 31, 2015 to Andhra for construction of Raj Bhavan, High Court, Secretariat and Assembly. However, till date, the Andhra government did not take any effective steps for the construction. The Centre blamed the Andhra government for “creating hostility in the working relations of two States”.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for Telangana, had submitted that it was even prepared to “walk out” of the Hyderbad building or find an alternative site for itself. Mr. Rohatgi had said separate high courts in separate buildings would ensure early disposal of cases. He submitted that though Telangana cases only form one-third of the number of cases in the Hyderabad, their hearing is delayed. This is because more time is currently spent on the cases from Andhra.