Vijayawada: Finally, the tension and debates over the decision to hold gram panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh came to an end with the Supreme Court on Monday ruling that the elections should be held as usual and dismissed all petitions filed by the AP government which had been fighting for the opposite.
The apex court heard the pleas by the AP government which, citing the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive across the country, had rejected the decision by the AP state election commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar to hold the gram panchayat polls. The state had also challenged the High Court's order allowing the conduct of the elections.
A two-judge bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrishikesh Roy conducted the hearing. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the state government.
Rohatgi told the court that local elections in several states, including Goa, had been postponed in view of the Coronavirus vaccination drive.
"In wake of the ongoing vaccination process, officials such as the police are constantly on duty," Rohatgi said. He argued that the single-judge bench of the state High Court had stalled the election process. "As it is estimated that five lakh personnel would be required for vaccination, the state government should be careful about how it utilizes the administrative strength," Rohatgi told to Supreme Court.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed that an ego problem between two authorities had lead to lawlessness. "We can't allow lawlessness. How can resolutions be passed against Ramesh Kumar? Elections have been held in far more difficult conditions and successfully too," he said.
After hearing the arguments, the Supreme Court ruled that it will not interfere in the decision from the state election commission and the gram panchayat elections would not be postponed further.