Vijaywada, April 13: The Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) High Court has adjourned to April 20 its hearing into a batch of petitions filed against the reduction of the tenure of State Election Commissioner (SEC) to three years, which resulted in the termination of the services of N. Ramesh Kumar.
Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy directed the Advocate General (AG) of A.P., S. Sriram, to file a counter by April 16 stating the government’s position in response to Mr. Ramesh Kumar’s contention that there was neither urgency nor a justifiable ground to issue the ordinance (No.5 of 2020) through which his term was cut short from five to three years, The Hindu reported.
In his petition, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said the impugned ordinance sought to circumvent the Constitutional prescription that the SEC could be removed only by following certain established procedures. By merely reducing the tenure and a condonation of that approach would effect the independence of the Constitutional body.
As the AG defended the merits of the ordinance, Justice Maheswari interdicted him, ordering that he needed to reply to the petitioner’s argument that there were no circumstances which warranted it’s issuance in a hasty manner.
Mr. Ramesh Kumar argued that the promulgation of the ordinance during a medical emergency, which formed the very basis of his decision to postpone the local body elections, seemed to be actuated with an oblique motive on extraneous grounds.
He prayed for the suspension of all further proceedings pursuant to the ordinance and Government Orders through which Madras High Court retired judge V. Kanagaraj (one of the respondents) was appointed as the SEC.
The court was hearing petitions filed by Mr. Ramesh Kumar and former ministers Kamineni Srinivas and Vadde Sobhanadreedwara Rao, advocate T. Yogesh and others separately.
The State government and Mr. Ramesh Kumar have been at loggerheads since the deferment of civil polls by him purportedly due to the threat posed by Coronavirus and violence that marred the process of elections which was in advanced stages.