What is a state’s capital?
A state could have administrative, legislative and judicial capitals. ‘Legislative’ capital houses the state assembly, while the ‘administrative’ capital houses the state’s government offices. Judicial capital houses the state high court. When we refer to the capital city of a state, it is usually a city that hosts both administrative and legislative capitals. A state could operate its high court from another city – for example, Uttar Pradesh has its high court in Allahabad while the state capital is Lucknow.
Who decides the capital city for a state in India?
Contrary to the prevailing opinion in Andhra Pradesh, the Union Government does not decide where a state’s capita should be, nor does it mention the state’s capital in the state reorganization bill. The responsibility of choosing a state capital resides with each state. It can decide to host its administrative and legislative capitals out of any city, town or village within its territory. And the territory of a state is defined clearly in the state reorganization bill, listing all its districts and constituencies. Though it is not the common practice, a state could choose more than one state capital. For example, Maharashtra has Mumbai and Nagpur as its capital cities. And the state could change its capital city any time – Gujarat moved its capital city from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar.