Petition in SC challenging shifting of Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed as withdrawn

Petition in SC challenging shifting of Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed as withdrawn

Bar & Bench

The petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Andhra Pradesh High Court Advocates’ Association (APHCAA) seeking to defer the bifurcation of the Hyderabad High Court and the shifting of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to Amaravati, has been dismissed as withdrawn.

The matter was heard by a Bench of Justices AK Sikri and S Abdul Nazeer.

“All these initial hiccups are always there. The matter was heard at length for quite some time and then it was decided (that the High Court would start functioning from January 1, 2019), and now it is functioning”, observed Justice Sikri.

The petition was then dismissed at withdrawn.

By way of background, a writ petition was filed in the High Court in 2015 to establish separate High Courts for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. This petition was disposed of with directions to the state government to identify and locate the site of the new Andhra Pradesh High Court.

In the Centre’s appeal against the High Court verdict, a Supreme Court Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan noted that all concerned stakeholders were anxious to establish a separate High Court for Andhra Pradesh as early as possible.

After being informed that a makeshift judicial complex at Amaravati was almost ready and that even the judges of the High Court – who were to become judges of the new Court for Andhra Pradesh – were satisfied with the facilities expected to be available at this new complex, the Court in October passed an order ‘expecting’ that a notification may be issued officially to bifurcate the High Courts by January 1, 2019.

A notification to this effect was issued on December 26, 2018, intimating that a separate High Court would start operating for the state of Andhra Pradesh from January this year. The government had also notified the Acting Chief Justice for the new Andhra Pradesh High Court, as well as the judges who would stand transferred to the new High Court.

The petition filed on behalf of the APHCAA, through advocate Praveen Chaturvedi, contends that the infrastructural and allied facilities for the new High Court are yet to be completed. In view of the same, the Association has argued that it could be practically and fiscally unwise to shift the newly bifurcated Andhra Pradesh High Court to the new makeshift premises.

The petition states,

In fact the government of A.P. started constructing a building for City Civil Court for the Capital and showed the said building as an alternate structure till the new buildings for housing the High Court are constructed. That alternate building is incomplete and no facilities are provided apart from being insufficient to house the High Court…The buildings constructed in haste to urgently accommodate the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly are leaking during rainy season…

…There are no habitations except small village panchayats to accommodate the members of the Bar, Staff and personnel associated with the profession within 20 Kilometers radius. There are no bungalows to accommodate the Hon’ble Judges near or around the proposed site

… Roads leading to the proposed building are not laid…There is absolutely no safety to the women members of the bar to reach to and from the proposed City Civil court/High court building…”

The petition also argues that it would take at least ten months to complete the construction of infrastructural facilities required to allow the operation of the fully fledged High Court for Andhra Pradesh.

In view of these concerns, the APHCAA prayed that the shifting of the High Court be deferred until the completion of construction of permanent premises for the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

Read the Petition:

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