Setback for YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Andhra Pradesh HC quashes ordinance curtailing State Election Commissioner’s tenure

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Updated: May 29, 2020 3:03 PM

Election Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh had promulgated an ordinance to curtail the tenure of Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner from five to three years.

The YSR government was unhappy over the SEC’s decision to defer the March 15 elections and abruptly removed Ramesh Kumar from the post by promulgating the ordinance. (File)

Andhra Prdesh State Election Commission: The Andhra Pradesh High Court has struck down an Ordinance promulgated by the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government to curtail the tenure of the State Election Commissioner. The court also quashed an order appointing retired judge V Kanagaraj as the new State Election Commissioner and reinstated as SEC retired bureaucrat Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar.

Earlier on April 10, the state government had promulgated an ordinance to curtail the tenure of State Election Commissioner from five to three years.

The state government had appointed Justice V Kanagaraj, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, as the new SEC. Justice Kanagaraj had assumed charge on April 11, replacing Ramesh Kumar.

Ramesh Kumar had come under attack from Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy after he postponed local body elections due to coronavirus pandemic. The rural and urban local bodies elections were to be held on March 15. He was appointed during the tenure of the previous TDP government.

The state government had even filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the SEC’s decision but the top court endorsed the deferment of polls.

Today’s judgment came on a batch of writ petitions, including the one moved by Ramesh Kumar. They had challenged the Ordinance and the appointment of a new SEC.

The High Court in its order said that the state government did not have the authority to curtail the tenure of the SEC.

“It also set aside the appointment of the new SEC. The court considered all our arguments in this regard,” senior advocate Jandhyala Ravi Shankar, appearing for one of the petitioners, said.

The government was unhappy over the SEC’s decision to defer the March 15 elections and abruptly removed Ramesh Kumar from the post by promulgating the ordinance. The ordinance amended the AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, to cut down the tenure of the SEC.

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