Vijayawada: In a significant development, the Andhra Pradesh High Court, on 17 July, directed Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar to meet Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan for his reinstatement as the state election commissioner (SEC).
A Bench headed by judge Satyanarayana Murthy expressed displeasure over the state government’s approach regarding the SEC issue.
On 10 April, Mr. Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar had been removed from his office by an ordinance that reduced his term from five to three years. The Andhra Pradesh government had also appointed retired judge V. Kanagaraj as the new SEC.
Based on a petition filed by Mr. Ramesh, the HC had struck down the ordinance on 29 May terming it unconstitutional and had directed that he continue as the SEC. Challenging the High Court order, the Andhra Pradesh government had filed a petition in the Supreme Court. The apex court, while calling for responses from all concerned parties, had refused to grant a stay on the High Court judgment. The High Court, on Friday, said that the apex court’s refusal to stay the order meant the reinstatement of Mr. Ramesh Kumar as the SEC.
Before filing a contempt of court petition against the state government, Mr. Ramesh Kumar had sought an appointment with the Governor but was not granted one. The High Court heard his case and asked the Andhra Pradesh government to file a reply on why its order was not complied with. The HC also directed Mr. Ramesh to meet the Governor for his reinstatement. It posted the case for 24 July. The SEC has approached the Raj Bhavan officials seeking an appointment with the Governor.
The Andhra Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy was unhappy with Mr. Ramesh Kumar for postponing the local body elections in March on grounds of COVID-19.