January 27, 2019 2:04:57 am
Calling the creation of the new High Court of Andhra Pradesh “a flagrant violation of the Constitution”, retired Supreme Court judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar has said that Parliament was “virtually bypassed” as the President of India notified the new court.
He said that it was up to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to decide if he should be present as chief guest at the inauguration of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh on February 3 at Amaravati. “The very existence of the high court is unconstitutional. It is for Justice Gogoi to decide whether his presence will cure it of all constitutional defects,’’ he said.
The new Andhra Pradesh High Court was constituted through a notification issued by the President of India and published in the Gazette of India on December 26, 2018, and came into existence on January 1. The new high court will move from its present location, the old CM office in Vijayawada, to a temporary complex in Amaravati while construction on a bigger complex, to which the court is expected to eventually move, is still to begin.
Saying that constitutionally, the President can notify the creation of a new high court only after Parliament has authorised him to do so, Chelameswar said, “The creation of the new High Court of AP is a flagrant violation of the Constitution… The Constitution prescribes a certain procedure to be followed in establishing or constituting High Courts. In this case, they have virtually bypassed Parliament.
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Parliament has to fix a date and it can delegate the authority to the President as has been done in all other such cases in the past. In this case, Parliament has been totally bypassed. What will now happen is that over a period of time, every aspect of constitutional governance will become like this… very casual,’’ Chelameswar told The Sunday Express, adding, “I don’t know how democracy will survive like this. Today is Republic Day and God save our democracy.”
Talking of the procedure to be followed while establishing high courts, Chelameswar said, “If you check all the previous enactments, each of them clearly specifies the procedure by which the date (for creation of new HC) is to be fixed and venue is determined. In Bihar and MP Reorganisation Acts, the appointed date for creation of the new high court is clearly mentioned. In the case of creation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, the Act clearly stated that the high court would come into existence on January 1, 1956, or an earlier date that is fixed through a resolution passed by the AP Assembly.”
Andhra Pradesh Law Minister Kollu Ravindra said that the notification was expected after the Supreme Court direction on November 5 last year that the competent authority could issue the notification bifurcating the courts. He, however, said the notification was issued hastily.
“The interim HC complex is still not ready and final touches were being given… as the notification has been issued by the President… we have accepted it without going into the legalities,” he said.
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