Section 8: What is and What is not?
By: Sujai Karampuri
What is Section 8 of AP Reorganization Act 2014?
8. (1) On and from the appointed day, for the purposes of administration of the common capital area, the Governor shall have special responsibility for the security of life, liberty and property of all those who reside in such area.
(2) In particular, the responsibility of the Governor shall extend to matters such as law and order, internal security and security of vital installations, and management and allocation of Government buildings in the common capital area.
(3) In discharge of the functions, the Governor shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers of the State of Telangana, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken:
Provided that if any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is under this sub-section required to act in the exercise of his individual judgment, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in the exercise of his individual judgment.
(4) The Governor shall be assisted by two advisors to be appointed by the Central Government.
Now, let’s take a look at Article 163, Part VI of Indian Constitution.
163. Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor.-
(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
(2) If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.
(3) The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court.
It may come as surprise to many that Section 8 does not confer on the Governor of Telangana anything more, anything special or anything different from what the Governor is already empowered through Article 163 of Indian Constitution. If anything special is assumed either by New Delhi or Andhra Pradesh, then it would be in violation of Indian Constitution, since no constitutional amendment was made when the AP Reorganization Bill was passed in the Parliament. So, asking the Governor of Telangana to invoke Section 8 is redundant and superfluous.
Governor of Telangana does not hold any special powers compared to other Governors in India when it comes to the matters of law and order in Hyderabad. And most importantly the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh cannot get any immunity for himself or for his purported actions through invoking of Section 8 of AP Reorganization Act 2014.
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is as liable as any other Chief Minister in India or a common man in India to be prosecuted by the court of law, since no protection is provided by the Indian Constitution or Section 8 of AP Reorganization Act 2014.
What is the current status of law and order of Hyderabad?
According to Seventh Schedule, Article 246, of Indian Constitution, the issues of Public Order and Police are listed as State List 1 and 2. And since Hyderabad is listed as district of Telangana, the law and order of Hyderabad lies with the State Government of Telangana without any conditions. And Section 8 of AP Reorganization Act 2014 does not dilute these State Powers conferred to the State of Telangana – since no constitutional amendment was made. Any directive issues against the spirit of Constitution can be challenged by the State.
Can Central Government direct Telangana to handover law and order of Hyderabad to itself?
No. Since Public Order and Police are State Powers as per Article 246 of Indian Constitution, Central Government cannot direct Telangana to handover law and order of Hyderabad to the Governor or to New Delhi. This would be violation of the federal structure as designed in Indian Constitution that guarantees certain powers to the State, protecting the State from intervention by the Center.
What are the methods by which Central Government can take over law and order of Hyderabad for itself?
Central Government can take over law and order of Hyderabad onto itself, weaning it away from the State Government of Telangana, through any of these special methods:
1. It can take the route of constitutional amendment as was done in case of Arunachal Pradesh through Article 371 H. [It should be noted that no constitutional amendment took place during the AP reorganization to equate it to Article 371 H].
2. OR go for another state reorganization act to make Hyderabad a centrally administered zone as in case of Chandigarh.
3. OR it can impose President’s Rule in the State of Telangana by dismissing the State Government by which it will assume the powers over entire state, not just the city of Hyderabad.
4. The other method by which it can take over law and order is only if the State of Telangana voluntarily hands it over to the Central Government using Article 258A of Indian Constitution. [But it cannot be forced into doing it]