HYDERABAD:In yet another indication of the growing bonhomie between the NDA government at the Centre and the TRS government, the Union law ministry has, apparently on behalf of , filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court urging it to set aside an order of the Hyderabad High Court which had ruled that HC for (temporary or permanent) can be set up only on AP territory. The Centre filed the petition on August 24 and a bench of the apex court is likely to hear the matter on August 31.

The Telangana government‘s justification for such a move is that the prospects of building and infra required for setting up high court for AP at Amaravati coming up in the near future appears to be bleak and that should not come in the way of Telangana having its own high court at the earliest.

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Batting for Telangana, the Union law ministry is now moving towards setting up the AP HC in Hyderabad after bifurcating the existing common HC. The current Hyderabad HC would then become the Telangana HC. Though the idea of the AP HC in Hyderabad is being shown as a temporary arrangement, legal sources say this temporary arrangement may last six years. This is because Hyderabad is the common capital for Telangana and AP till 2024 as per the AP Reorganisation Act.

Centre’s SLP challenges the 2015 HC judgment delivered by then Chief Justice Kalyanjyoti Sengupta and says it has become a stumbling block for bifurcating the common HC. The Hyderabad HC in its judgment, delivered on May 1, 2015, said the AP High Court, whether temporary or permanent, should be set up only on AP territory. It also said any effort to bifurcate the common HC and locating both in Hyderabad city would be contrary to law.

Telangana expressed its readiness to allot a building to house AP HC in Hyderabad. But the HC in its 2015 judgment said Telangana has no role in the establishment of the AP HC. The AP government has already identified a location for the high court at Amaravati and is making it functional.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India heard the plea on August 24 and said the registry has raised doubts about delay the Centre made in preferring an appeal against the 2015 judgment. It referred the matter to be heard by a different bench after curing defects pointed out by registry. The case is now likely to come up before Justice AK Sikri bench on August 31.
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