The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday directed the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government to reinstate retired bureaucrat Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as the State Election Commissioner (SEC), while it also struck down an ordinance of the state promulgated on April 10 curtailing the tenure of the SEC from five to three years.
In a double whammy to the state government, the court quashed a government order appointing retired judge V Kanagaraj as the new State Election Commissioner. It restored retired bureaucrat Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as the SEC who who was dismissed by the Reddy government on April 10 after he postponed the local body elections due to Coronavirus outbreak, which were to be held on March 25.
Justice V Kanagaraj, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, had assumed charge as the SEC on April 11, replacing Ramesh Kumar.
The Andhra High Court delivered the judgment on a batch of writ petitions, including the one by the aggrieved Ramesh Kumar, challenging the Ordinance and the appointment of a new SEC.
“The court ruled 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,” said the senior advocate Jandhyala Ravi Shankar, who appeared on behalf of one of the petitioner.
Recently the Jagan Mohan Reddy government had suffered a few setbacks including the Dr K Sudhakar arrest case to be given to the CBI and suspension of senior IPS officer and former Intelligence chief AB Venkateswara Rao being revoked.
Jagan’s YSRCP cruised to a landslide victory in Assembly elections in the state last year – its first since the 2014 bifurcation . His party won 151 of the 175 seats in the Assembly.
The 46-year-old Jagan took the oath as the 17th Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on May 30, 2019 and is set to complete one year in office on Saturday.