It is not known why the Supreme Court is reluctant to take hard decisions. Why it is not stopping the Telangana government from imposing taxes from AP

The simplicity of observations of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, H.L. Dattu, on the petition filed by the Andhra Pradesh Private Bus Operators against Telangana Government decision to impose Motor Vehicle Tax on vehicles entering the state from Andhra Pradesh (The Hindu, 23/04/2015, p. 1), leaves one dumb-founded as the two states are not in the same relationship as with other states. That the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act stipulates Hyderabad to be the joint Capital for 10 years for both states would mean that the umbilical cord is not fully cut!

ANDHRA PRADESH TELANGANA BUS Supreme Court Should Inspire Respect, Not Expect Obsequiousness

That the 2014 Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act stipulates Hyderabad to be the joint Capital for 10 years for both states would mean that the umbilical cord is not fully cut! This means Telangana government is asking the citizens of AP to pay for entering its own Capital! How justified is it?

The honorable Chief Justice may be right in saying that state administration cannot be stopped from imposing taxes. But that is in the normal course of things. Yet it should be recognized that AP and Telangana are like undivided twins. It goes against any principle of justice if one of the twins deliberately tries to hurt the other claiming that it is only dealing with its part of the common body part!

The honorable Chief Justice may be right in saying that state administration cannot be stopped from imposing taxes. But that is in the normal course of things. Yet it should be recognized that AP and Telangana are like undivided twins. It goes against any principle of justice if one of the twins deliberately tries to hurt the other claiming that it is only dealing with its part of the common body part!

And, it is not as if there were no precedents. That all the three states divided previously have shown this courtesy towards the newly formed states (whose Capitals were in the process of being built) would only mean that they are adhering to some form of natural justice. After all, free access to one’s Capital cannot be denied under any form of democratic norm.

The precedents and the fact that AP and Telangana are still in the process of division should have prompted the bench to the complexity of the issue at hand. In such a context, explicitly exhorting the High Court – that is also seized of a set of similar petitions – can only serve to adversely affect

The precedents and the fact that AP and Telangana are still in the process of division should have prompted the bench to the complexity of the issue at hand. In such a context, explicitly exhorting the High Court – that is also seized of a set of similar petitions – can only serve to adversely affect administration of justice.

It is not known why the Supreme Court, at times, is reluctant to take hard decisions. Such is the case notoriously with petitions challenging the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act filed in February/March, 2014. This act is known to have several provisions that are constitutionally contestable. Indeed, have those been sorted out the division would have been much more equitable and without recrimination that we witness these days.

supreme court Supreme Court Should Inspire Respect, Not Expect Obsequiousness

Besides, a far-reaching act such as this has a tremendous impact on not just social, cultural and linguistic spheres of the Telugus, but also on their anthropological survival as a homogeneous sub-culture of India on an equal footing with other Indian sub-cultures. Having admitted a dozen petitions against APRA, what the Supreme Court has done is to state the necessity to pass them on to the Constitutional Bench.

Yet, those petitions never came up for hearing! Or to be precise, at the “hearings” these petitions were taken up only to further postpone their consideration and ad infinitum (!) so much so that the media desisted from coverage. In short, the Supreme Court has just let down the Telugus who number eight and half crores according 2011 census. And the Supreme Court betrayed neither a sense of justice nor of culture! Worse, this highly respected judicial institution gave the impression of being just another political player!!

When such are the ways of Supreme Court, how can this premier institution inspire respect? Does not one get the impression that even the highest court of the land is beset with opportunism or with casual attitude towards justice? Would there be anything seriously wrong with the people if they feel that either the legal luminaries lack any profound understanding of what justice is or that they lack a serious commitment to search for one! People can also be excused if they think Supreme Court to be just an over-grown Sessions court and nothing more than that despite some improved sophistication thrown in.

People are simply condemned to show respect as Supreme Court is one of the three pillars of democracy. But then, obsequiousness is never equivalent to hard-earned and well-merited respect. Worse, the silent obligation imposed on them reduces them to be mute spectators staring at the crumbling of one of the crucial pillars of our democratic edifice.

By: Dr. Codadu Pratap

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