AP vs Telangana: Real position of Section 8 of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act
Section 8 of the AP Reorganization Act has become a bone of contention and discussions on this issue never seem to stop.
There are contrary views on this section and many would feel that it is high time that the Government of India uses an iron fist and brings about a quietus to this issue.
To put it in simple words, Section 8 basically raises the question, " who polices the police?" Law and order under the constitution is a state subject and the case is no different for Telangana as well.
As per the AP Reorganization Act, Section 8 gave the Governor in the common capital area (Hyderabad) the special responsibility for the security, life, liberty and property of all those who reside in the area.
This was implemented as the people of Andhra living in Hyderabad had raised concerns about their own security in the wake of the bifurcation.
The Section 8 would have come into force only if there were complaints of violence or threats against the people of Andhra residing in Hyderbad which is a common capital.
What is Section 8 of the AP reorganization Act?
Section 8 states that 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.
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.
What one must recollect is that Section 8 is not a unique power. The Governor of any state has this power under Article 163 of the Indian Constitution. The governor is empowered to step in if there is a violation of the law and order under this Article of the Indian Constitution.
Can Governor invoke Section 8 in Telangana?
Legal experts say that it is difficult to invoke Section 8 considering that there is an overriding provision in the Constitution. When the AP Reorganisation bill was passed in the parliament, there was no move to amend the constitution.
As there was no amendment to the Constitution, this meant that 163 would be the article in play. No bill can override the provisions of the Indian Constitution unless and until there is an amendment.
One must also read into Article 246 (7th schedule) of the Indian Constitution which deals with Public Order and Police. It has been listed as State List 1 and 2 which ideally would mean that law and order is under the state government.
Hyderabad has been listed as a district in Telangana and going by Article 246 the law and order would be under the control of the state.
Mohan Kumar a senior advocate tells OneIndia that there has been no amendment to the Constitution. Section 8 of the AP reorganization act seems to have been passed only to give some sense of sanity to those people of Andhra living in Hyderabad under Telangana state.
There is no way that Section 8 can override the provisions of the Constitution. If Section 8 needs to come into force then there has to be a Constitutional amendment and there is none at the moment, Kumar also says.
What can the Union Government do?
The battle of the Chief Ministers of AP and Telangana (Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekara Rao) has reached the Union Government.
The battle over the cash for votes investigation is the bone of contention here and Naidu wants Section 8 to come into play as he feels that the law and order mechanism controlled by Telangana will not give him a fair deal. This brings us to the question as to what the Union Government can do.
For starters Naidu's case is being probed by the Anti Corruption Bureau and not the Telangana police. The union government could at best bring both Chief Ministers to the negotiating table and ask them to stop fighting.
Under Article 246, the Union Government cannot issue a directive to Telangana to hand over the control of law and order to the Governor.
The governor's role comes into play only if there is a breakdown of law and order in the state and not if there is a fight between the Chief Ministers.
Various provisions in the Constitution and also judgments of the Supreme Court have provided a protection to the state governments from being ruled or bullied by Governors.