On Friday, the Andhra Pradesh cabinet deferred taking a decision on relocating the state capital to three separate locations. On December 17, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had hinted that Andhra Pradesh could have three decentralised capitals, on the lines of South Africa. The new capital being developed at Amaravati, Reddy hinted, could become the “Legislative Capital”, port city Visakhapatnam the “Executive Capital” and Kurnool the “Judicial Capital”.
How did South Africa get three capital cities?
Three cities serve as capitals of the country– Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial).
This arrangement was a result of the Second Boer War (1899-1902) in which Britain annexed the two Afrikaner speaking states -– the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (also called Transvaal Republic). Cape of Good Hope then remained in the British Empire, becoming self-governing in 1872, and uniting with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa in 1910.
An article in the South Africa-based Daily Maverick online newspaper explains: “… in South Africa, the unique feature of its trio of capitals arose out of the settlement at the end of the second Anglo-Boer War. The parliament for the new Union of South Africa would reside in the Cape (the Cape Colony), the bureaucratic portion would take up residence in the new Union Buildings in the old Transvaal Republic’s capital and the judicial function would be sent off to Bloemfontein, the capital of the other Boer republic, the Orange Free State. (This arrangement has stood ever since, although the real judicial capital has effectively been shifted to Johannesburg with the creation of the Constitutional Court.)”
What are the other examples of multiple capital cities?
Several countries in the world have implemented the concept. In Sri Lanka, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is the official capital and seat of national legislature, while Colombo is the de facto seat of national executive and judicial bodies. Malaysia has its official and royal capital and seat of national legislature at Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya is the administrative centre and seat of national judiciary.
Among Indian states, Maharashtra has two capitals– Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly). Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter). The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals.
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