Presidential reference to Apex Court on Telangana?
The Union government is examining a proposal to seek Presidential reference to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution to find a legal solution to the demand for a separate Telangana State.
In the perception of GoI, the issue is not only a political problem but also a legal one that could not be decided by the government alone. As part of the consultation process, the Centre is likely to discuss this proposal at Tuesday’s meeting with eight recognised political parties and take their views.
The Centre obtained legal opinion from a senior law officer whether the Telangana demand could be considered afresh. The States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) had rejected such request in 1955 and many States were formed on the basis of the language spoken in the region, it was pointed out.
The legal opinion was that as Andhra Pradesh was formed as a Telugu-speaking State, dividing it into two or three States might pose several legal questions viz., whether the State could be further divided when no new facts had emerged except for the fact that some political parties were resorting to agitations in support of their demand.
The legal opinion pointed out that the SRC report, among other things, went into the problems of Telangana and Andhra regions and the arguments for and against the merger of two regions and came to the conclusion that there was no need for further division of Andhra Pradesh.
“Can there be a further subdivision of the State?” This is the crucial question that is likely to be put forth by the President to the Supreme Court for its advisory opinion.
Article 143 of the Constitution says: “If at any time it appears to the President that a question of law or fact has arisen, or is likely to arise, which is of a such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it, he [or she] may refer the question to that court for consideration and the court may, after such hearing as it thinks fit, report to the President its opinion thereon.”
The SRC report says, “The advantages of a larger Andhra State, including Telangana, are that it will bring into existence a State of about 32 million with a considerable hinterland, with large water and power resources, adequate mineral wealth and valuable raw materials. This will also solve the difficult and vexing problem of finding a permanent capital for Andhra, the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are very well suited to be the capital of Vishalandhra. It seems to us, therefore, that there is much to be said for the formation of the larger State and nothing should be done to impede the realisation of this goal.”