Supreme Court endorses Haridwar’s inclusion in Uttarakhand

May 8th, 2009 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

By Rana Ajit
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court has endorsed inclusion of Haridwar in Uttarakhand, a state that was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.

A bench of Justices S.B. Sinha and Cyriac Joseph put the seal of legality over inclusion of Haridwar in Uttarakhand, ruling that parliament, under Article 3 of Constitution, is supposed to merely consult the assemblies of the affected states and need not concur with their views or opposition to the alteration of their boundaries or reduction in their territory.

The bench gave its ruling Tuesday, dismissing a lawsuit by a group of Haridwar residents who had challenged Section 3 of the Uttar Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2000, which provided for inclusion of Haridwar town and the entire district in the new Uttaranchal state, later named Uttarakhand, ignoring an Uttar Pradesh assembly resolution to the contrary.

The apex court ruled: “The power to introduce the bill (to create a new state) is with parliament. Consultation with the (affected) state legislature, though is mandatory, its recommendations are not binding on parliament.”

Haridwar residents had said that when former president K.R. Narayanan had referred the proposed law to create a new state to the Uttar Pradesh assembly to elicit its views, the central government, albeit due to a legislative goof-up, had forgotten to include the name of Haridwar town or district in the new state.

Later in March 2000, partly rectifying the error, the government issued a notification saying that Haridwar town too will be included in the new state. It further asked the state assembly to apprise the union government of its views by early April 2000.

The state assembly eventually took up the central government’s bill for a discussion April 6, 2000, and resolved that no part of Haridwar district should be included in the new state.

Haridwar residents contended that the union government, however, later not just ignored the Uttar Pradesh assembly resolution but breached its own proposal, which said that only Haridwar town would be included in the new state.

They said parliament instead enacted a law which included entire Haridwar district in Uttaranchal.

Dismissing the Haridwar residents’ contentions, the apex court ruled that parliament was well within its power to amend the proposed law and enact it in the amended form.

It did not need to send the amended bill for fresh discussion by the state assembly, the apex court ruled.

-Indo-Asian News Service

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