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Constitutional amendment not required: Law Ministry

Law Ministry has said this would have been a mandatory requirement “had there been no Legislative Council in the state of Andhra Pradesh prior to the AP Reorganisation Bill.”

New Delhi |
Updated: February 13, 2014 12:48:28 am
L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh after lunch with PM Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo: IE) L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh after lunch with PM Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo: IE)

Saying that creation of two Legislative Councils — one each for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana — from out of the existing Legislative Council was “akin to bifurcation of the present Legislative Assembly without any change in number of seats”, the Union Law Ministry Wednesday told the Lok Sabha (LS) Secretariat that the Bill to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh does not require a constitutional amendment and a simple legislation was enough for the purpose.

The opinion was cleared by Law Minister Kapil Sibal.

The LS Secretariat had Tuesday sought the Law Ministry’s opinion on whether a constitutional amendment was required to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

The LS Secretariat had pointed out that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, which Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde plans to introduce in the Lower House of Parliament Thursday, proposes to amend Article 168 of the Constitution to create a new Legislative Council for the new state of Telangana and also amend Article 371D to ensure that the new state continues to be covered by the benefits of special provisions which are currently being enjoyed by united Andhra Pradesh.

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The Law Ministry has, while negating the need for a constitutional amendment, said this would have been a mandatory requirement “had there been no Legislative Council in the state of Andhra Pradesh prior to the AP Reorganisation Bill.”

On the issue of Article 371D, the opinion says the power of Parliament to make laws under Articles 3 and 4 was “plenary and traverses over all legislative subjects as are necessary for effectuating a proper reorganisation of states”.

In an earlier opinion, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati had told the government that for Telangana to be created, Parliament would have to pass a constitutional amendment, failing which the two new states would lose the special status provided under Article 371-D. Article 371 of the Constitution provides special provisions to protect the interests of people and resources of the state.

Sena to oppose division in House

New Delhi: The Shiv Sena has decided to adopt a proactive role to show solidarity with people of Seemandhra region when the Telangana Bill is brought to the Lok Sabha. “Our members will join the protest in the well of the House,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Wednesday. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill may be introduced in the Lower House on Thursday. Participation of the Sena, which is principally opposed to creation of new states, is likely to make matters worse for government floor managers. Raut said both TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress president Jagan Mohan Reddy have requested his party to prevent bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

Pradeep Kaushal

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