Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s move to rename Amethi, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency, and elevate it to district level was Wednesday stayed by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court.
The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by Manoj Kumar Rastogi and Ved Prakash Singh, opposing the creation of the new district in the name of Dalit icon Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj.
The bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Rituraj Awasthi stayed the Mayawati government’s July 1 notification whereby Chattrapati Shahuji Maharaj Nagar district had come into being.
The court took note of an earlier government notification of Dec 22, 2009 whereby creation of any new district was banned until March 31, 2011.
Drawing the attention of the court to the notification, the petitioners sought to point out that neither a new district could have been created nor boundaries of nagar palikas (municipal corporations), revenue villages, tehsils (sub-districts), police stations, and districts could be changed on or after January 2010 and before March 31, 2011.
“The state government ought to have have exercised restraint in issuing the said notification of July 1 in the teeth of notification dated December 22, 2009 , issued by governor or against the directives of the central government to the state government, in pursuance of which the aforesaid notification has been issued by the governor,” the bench observed.
It further observed that the creation of a district was a major exercise, which if done in haste, may be overlooking or underestimating the requirement of providing necessary infrastructure and paraphernalia.
Chief Standing Counsel Devendra Kumar Upadhya said the government was conscious of the notification issued by the governor. He said that a high-powered committee had considered the creation of the new district.
Upadhaya added that the government had taken necessary precautions to ensure that the census did not get affected by the creation of a new district.
“The new district fulfils the entire standard requirements as per an earlier Government Order dated October 20, 1992,” he claimed.
The newly created district has a population of 17.21 lakh, covering an area of 3,070 sq km.
The court posted the matter for further hearing in the first week of October, granting nearly two months time to the parties to file their replies.
Significantly, another division bench of the high court comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Satish Chandra had dismissed a petition challenging the creation of new district.