Thursday, July 21, 2016

Editorial, SPECIAL STATUS TO A.P., ART 371-D ETC, in 30 April 2016 issue, Vol. 12, Part 1, No. 14

Though the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh into A.P. and Telangana has become a practical reality, a doubt arises whether it has become a legal reality i.e. one of constitutional and legal validity. There are several writ petitions pending before the Apex Court on the issue and, mind it, the Court has not dismissed but after elaborate arguments by petitioners, agreed to fully hear them. At that time itself this editor had brought to the notice of the Apex Court that though the Court agreed to hear the petitions on a serious matter which is nothing short of passing death sentence on a valid legal and historical entity existing since decades, and, moreover, an execution day was fixed on 2 June 2014, it would be futile if the Court does not grant a reprieve till the petitions are fully heard and decided. However, strangely, the august Court trashed the request easily. Now both the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are relying on Article 371-D, a special provision made for the united State of Andhra Pradesh, to be operative ‘notwithstanding any other provisions in the Constitution’, and that naturally means ‘any other provisions in any other statute’ also. Actually this provision ought to be treated as more sound, strong and inviolable than the Article 370 in regard to the State of Jammu & Kashmir, labeled as a ‘temporary’ provision only; but yet, again strangely, even a statute makes amendments to the Article here. In this background, what value the assurance of a former Prime Minister in Parliament, strongly supported, with even further extension of such period demanded, by the then opposition but now ruling party, to accord subsequent to bifurcation a special status to Andhra Pradesh carries, it is difficult to understand. Just as the bifurcation act was forced in Parliament against all constitutional conventions to suit the interests of certain vested interests, the solemn promises made by the persons in authority that day are also being trashed openly to suit the interests of the present ruling party which was as much part of the nasty bifurcation process as the then ruling party. However, nothing prevents the current Central Government, if it has any sense of ethics and fair-play, from according a special status to the much-injured and defrauded state of Andhra Pradesh even if any Commissions or Committees set up do not commend so in that regard because such recommendations are never mandatory, but only advisory. §§§

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