Hyderabad/Vijayawada: Telangana and Andhra Pradesh ushered in the New Year with separate high courts as the chief justices and judges took oath on Tuesday.
The high courts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh became functional in Hyderabad and Amaravati respectively from Tuesday, consequent to a notification issued by President Ram Nath Kovind last week.
Four-and-a-half years after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, separate high courts of the two Telugu states became a reality, meeting a long-pending demand of the people, especially the legal fraternity.
Justice Chagari Praveen Kumar was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court in Vijayawada on Tuesday morning.
E.S.L. Narasimhan, serving as Governor of both states, administered the oath of office to Justice Praveen Kumar and 14 other judges of the High Court at a ceremony held at Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium in Vijayawada.
The ceremony was attended by Supreme Court judge Justice N.V. Ramana, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, lawyers and senior officials.
Justice Ramana later inaugurated the temporary building of Andhra Pradesh High Court at the old camp office of the Chief Minister.
Later this month, the court will be shifted to City Court Complex where it will function till the permanent building is completed at Amaravati, the upcoming state capital near Vijayawada.
Justice Praveen Kumar, the senior-most among judges allotted to Andhra Pradesh, will be presiding over the affairs of judiciary in his native state. Son of senior counsel C. Padmanabha Reddy, he became a judge of the then Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2012.
Before reaching Vijayawada, the Governor administered oath to Justice T. Bhaskaran Nair Radhakrishnan as the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court at a ceremony held at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad.
Justice Radhakrishnan later administered oath to 12 judges of Telangana High Court.
The 59-year-old Justice Radhakrishnan, who studied law in Karnataka, was appointed a judge of the Kerala High Court in 2004 and elevated to the post of Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court in 2017. He had been serving as Chief Justice of High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad since July last year.
President Ram Nath Kovind on December 26 had issued a notification bifurcating High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, which had been serving as the common high court of the two states since June 2014.
The common high court had 3.4 lakh pending cases, 70 per cent of them related to Andhra Pradesh.
As per Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, about 1,600 employees working in common high court were divided between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the ratio of 58:42.
Andhra Pradesh was allotted 539 judicial officers working in lower courts while Telangana was allotted 362 officers.
The setting up of separate high courts met the long-pending demand of people, especially lawyers in both the states.
Telangana lawyers, who had played an active role in the movement for a separate state, had staged protests on many occasions to press the demand for early division of the common high court.
With Tuesday's historic development, High Court has returned to Andhra after 62 years.
Andhra High Court was first established in Guntur in 1953 when a separate state for Telugu speaking people was carved out of Madras State with its capital in Kurnool.
After reorganization of states in 1956, Andhra State was merged with then Hyderabad state to form Andhra Pradesh and subsequently the High Court was shifted to Hyderabad.
Though as per Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, Hyderabad may serve as the common capital of both the states, almost all the departments have already been shifted to Amaravati.
Andhra Pradesh Secretariat was shifted to Amaravati in 2015. The following year witnessed shifting of Andhra Pradesh Legislature.(IANS)