T State without powers over Hyderabad?

By: Madabhushi Sridhar

(Professor & Coordinator, Center for Media Law & Public Policy, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad)

Hyderabad is missing from promised Telangana. Even as process of forming Telangana state is being processed, efforts are on to make Hyderabad a Union Territory like Delhi. Mr Digvijay Singh first time revealed the ‘true character’ of their proposal regarding Hyderabad that it will be on the lines of Delhi. What it means?

National Capital Region (NCR) Delhi is under rule of Lieutenant Governor, assisted, advised by a Council of Ministers formed out of elected Legislative Assembly, without any power to deal with land, law & order and police. There are several Union Territories without Legislative House. Constituting legislative house may widen democratic representative character compared with other UTs which are governed by Center through Lt Governor. Hyderabad may not be called Union Territory or may or may not create a separate Legislative Assembly as that was in Delhi NCR, but it will be beyond the controls of Telangana and ruled by center. It is like central rule in Hyderabad for ten years. If that is so, the Telangana Agitation for the last ten years should be considered failed, unfortunately. 

National Capital Region (NCR) was created with special status by the Constitution (69th Amendment Act of 199). The NCR included the neighbouring cities of Baghpat, Gurgaon, Sonepat, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida and other nearby towns. (Greater Hyderabad is made by merging peripheral municipalities to create such a UT) The Union of India and Government of NCT of Delhi jointly administer New Delhi, where both bodies are located.

By the Constitution (69th Amendment) Act in 1999 special provisions were added in the Constitution after Article 239A in Part VIII, Union Territories as 239AA, which says Lt Governor will be an adminsitrator and there will be a legislative assembly. Most important aspect is that the executive and legislative power of the NCR Delhi will extend to entries in List II (State) and III (Concurrent, which means both state and center can make law on these entries) except matters with respect to Entries 1,2 and 18 of State List and Entries 64,65 and 66 of that List in so far as they relate to the said Entries 1,2, and 18. 

Within List II (State) Entry 1 is Public order (but not including [the use of any naval, military or air force or any other armed force of the Union or of any other force subject to the control of the Union or of any contingent or unit thereof] in aid of the civil power), 2 is Police (including railway and village police) subject to the provisions of entry 2A of List I and 18 is: Land, that is to say, rights in or over land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land improvement and agricultural loans; colonization. Entry 64: Offences against laws with respect to any of the matters in this List. 65: Jurisdiction and powers of all courts, except the Supreme Court, with respect to any of the matters in this List. 66. Fees in respect of any of the matters in this List, but not including fees taken in any court.

Going by what Digvijay Singh stated recently assuring to satisfy ‘all sections’, the following are legal possibilities with regard to Hyderabad: 

1. Hyderabad will be Union Territory for 10 years, accommodating Capitals of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

2. Present Greater Hyderabad will be separate distinct terriory considered as Hyderabad Capital Region (HCR on the lines of NCR -National Capital Region).

3. HCR also might have a Legislative Assembly like that of Delhi. (They may call it with a different name). The Assemblies and CMs of HCR, Telangana and AP will not have any executive or legislative power on ‘Public Order, Police and Land, which are very crucial subjects’.

4. If Hyderabad does not have Assembly, Telangana Assembly might be given all administrative controls over Hyderabad, except ‘Public Order, Police, Land and powers of controls, fee and other aspects over these three, which means even revenue, which might go to Center. 

Thus neither Telangana nor the Hyderabad Assemblies will have any power any power to rule or legislate on Public Order, Police and Land besides offences, jurisdiction of courts, and fees in respect of these matters relating to Hyderabad. With all those key powers the Government of India and with remaining general powers, the HCR will jointly administer Hyderabad.

Now imagine what happens in Hyderabad. There will be three governors, Lt Governor of Hyderabad and two Governors for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, two or three Chief Ministers, two or three Legislative Assemblies, three secretariats and three kinds of police officers and revenue   Hyderabad will not retain its present character. The locals will be further deprived, subdued, and bombarded by the migrant officers, forget about someones going out of Hyderabad. None know whether this trauma will end even after ten years. 

When Nirbhaya was raped in New Delhi, the Chief Minister Sheela Dikshit claimed she had no moral or legal responsibility/authority since power of law and order in Delhi falls is left with Union. The CM and Assembly can simply make appeals and prayers to save the people.

Events on 4th August 2013 in Hyderabad reveal how the power over law and order can be misused by a partisan government. Vishalandhra group took out a rally without permission from the Police. How the Chalo Assembly organized by Joint Action Committee was suppressed is a recent history. It was crushed at different entry points in and outskirts of city, were beaten, attacked, arrested and thrown out into the vans, and left at distant places before shifting them to one and other police stations. Every peaceful Telangana agitation was crushed by iron hand by a hostile state government so far. Telangana people fought heartless Government, hostile police as per the direction of Injustice report by Justice Krishna in its dark chapter. Biased media projected the negative aspects of agitation and deliberately suppressed success of agitation and people’s support to it, but preferred to highlight the baseless anti-Telangana statements by people like Parakala Prabhakar, Lagadapati and Jaggareddy. And is Congress Government cheating Telangana again? 

It is against the constitution, to declare a new state without powers over Law & Order, Police and Land along with revenue, and entrusting them to Center. Except as UT, Hyderabad cannot be considered as joint capital. Without amending Constitution it is not possible to divert the key powers to center, even after Hyderabad is made a UT. If Telangana remains a state with Hyderabad as its capital, there is no way that such state can be deprived of power to deal with public order as Constitution cannot approve such a scheme.

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