Andhra Pradesh High Court asked Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar to approach Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan for appointment as the SEC.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy was hearing the contempt case filed by N. Ramesh Kumar. The High Court is unhappy with the way State Government is dealing with this issue.
Background of the Case
Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar was ousted from the office of State Election commissioner. The Andhra Pradesh State Government passed an ordinance reducing the tenure of SEC from five to three years. As a result of which, the then SEC was removed.
Additionally, the government made certain changes regarding the qualifications of SEC. Now a retired judge can be qualified to serve as SEC. Accordingly, it appointed ex-Madras High Court Judge as the new SEC. Disappointed by the promulgation of the impugned ordinance, N. Ramesh Kumar knocked the doors of High Court. He challenged the arbitrary ordinance issued by the Government. He also sought for nullifying the ordinance.
The High Court struck down the impugned ordinance, reinstating Dr. Kumar as the SEC. Subsequently, the Court quashed the notification of appointment of ex- Madras High Court judge as new SEC. The Court ruled that the ordinance was actuated by fraud on power. The Court found the impugned ordinance violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
On May 29, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had nullified the impugned ordinance. It ordered for his reinstatement immediately. The government was not satisfied with the order. It moved to Supreme Court and prayed to put a stay on HC order. However, the Supreme Court refused to stay High Court order.
Ramesh Kumar filed contempt petition against Andhra Pradesh government in the High Court. Mr. Kumar alleged that the government has not obeyed Court’s order of his reinstatement as SEC.
The state government promulgated this ordinance due to the ongoing tussle between the State Government and Ramesh Kumar. Dr. Kumar had postponed the local body elections of the state because of COVID-19 pandemic. This made CM unhappy.
The Court noted that the SC has refused to stay High Court’s order passed on May 29, 2020. Therefore, the government is bound to follow it. It directed Ramesh Kumar to meet the governor for his reinstatement. He has the authority to appoint him as per Article 243(k). Additionally, it asked the state government to file reply as to why it failed to implement its order to call Mr. Kumar back to his office.
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