Vijayawada: Amid a tug of war between the Andhra Pradesh government and the State Election Commissioner (SEC), the Supreme Court, on 8 July, said it would not pass an interim order and posted all pleas for final hearing in three weeks time.

The pleas include one filed by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the High Court order reinstating Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as the SEC.

One intervener, who filed the special leave petition, pleaded the court to constitute an interim committee in the absence of the SEC so that the process for panchayat elections in the state may continue. He alleged that a video had revealed that Mr. Kumar was talking secretly to politicians.

A Bench of Chief Justice S.A Bobde and Justices R. Subhash Reddy and A.S Bopanna said it would not pass any interim order and would dispose of the pleas in the next two to three weeks.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Andhra Pradesh government, said that during the period the Governor may be requested to appoint an interim SEC as election work in the state has been put on hold. The Bench refused to pass any such directions.

On 10 June, the top court had refused to stay the High Court order striking down an ordinance promulgated by the Andhra Pradesh government curtailing the tenure of the SEC from five to three years. It had issued notices and sought response from the SEC and Mr. Nimmagadda, who was reinstated as the state poll panel chief.

The top court had agreed to hear the plea of the state government challenging the recent decision of Andhra Pradesh High Court striking down the ordinance and asked Mr. Kumar and others to file their response in two weeks.

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