SC refuses to stay tabling of Telangana bill as Seemandhra MPs force review

The Supreme Court has refused to stay tabling of the Telangana bill in Parliament, saying it did not want to interfere at this stage, even as union ministers and Congress lawmakers from Seemandhra forced the party's central leadership to convene another meeting of the group of ministers to accommodate some of the changes suggested by them in the draft bill.

Supreme CourtA bench comprising justices H L Dattu and S A Bobde declined to pass any direction to the central government on a batch of petitions challenging the creation of the new state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh.

The bench referred to its earlier order dated 18 November 2013, when it had said that it was premature to entertain any petition relating to the opposition to the bifurcation of the state.

"We do not see any change in the stage between November 18, 2013 and today. So we decline to interfere at this stage," the bench said. However, it clarified that the averment made in the writ petitions are open to be entertained at an appropriate stage.

Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Seemandhra and members belonging to Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party had on Thursday given notice for a non-confidence motion against prime minister Manmohan Singh over the plan to split Andhra Pradesh to create a separate Telangana state.

Naidu also met Narendra Modi, BJP's prime ministerial candidate, last night in a bid to stall the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, even as the central government appealed to all parties to cooperate in the formation of Telangana state.

Opponents to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh also submitted that since the Andhra Pradesh Assembly has unanimously rejected the draft bill, it should not be allowed to be tabled in the same form. The bench passed the brief order after almost one-and-a- half hours of hearing during which all the petitioners were heard. 

Those who are opposed to the proposed creation of Telangana sought to stay the tabling of the bill, saying that there was all likelihood that the bill will be tabled in Parliament on 10 February and if it becomes a law, it will become an irreversible process.

It may be noted that Parliament is in its final session before the national elections, due by May, and if the bill is stalled now, it may not come up any time soon.

Most leaders from the state, both pro and anti-bifurcation, are camping in the capital. Both groups are expected to meet the President later today.

Supporters of both sides of the political divide clashed outside Andhra Bhawan, the state's guest house in the capital, on Thursday.

Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is making a desperate bid to stall bifurcation of the state, sat on a dharna at Delhi's Jantar Mantar before meeting the President yesterday to request him to "use his powers" to stop the bifurcation of his state.

The Andhra Pradesh state legislature had last week rejected the Telangana bill, which the centre wants to push through in Parliament (See: Andhra Pradesh assembly rejects bill to bifurcate state).

The state assembly sent back the bill seeking more than 9,000 changes, but the assembly's opinion is not binding on the centre.