For the third time, SC refuses to stay HC order reinstating Ramesh Kumar as SEC

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In a blow to the Jagan government yet again, the Supreme Court for the third time refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh government’s high court order that had set aside the appointment of Justice V Kanagaraj as state election commissioner. This would mean that Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar would continue as SEC till further orders.

On June 2, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh High Court order as sought by the state government and questioned its decision to bring out an ordinance to remove Kumar.

Hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by the AP government seeking the Supreme Court to give a stay on HC verdict to reinstate Ramesh Kumar, a three-judge SC bench, comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, had warned the government not to play with the constitutional functionaries.

On June 24, the Supreme Court again refused to stay the HC order and observed that the removal of Ramesh Kumar as SEC was not done in a bonafide manner.

It may be recalled that the Andhra Pradesh government in an act of political vendetta removed Ramesh Kumar as the SEC after he had put off the elections to civic bodies citing the spread of coronavirus.

In a brazen display of vindictive politics, the state government brought in an ordinance in a tearing hurry to remove Ramesh Kumar by reducing the SEC term from five to three years. Following this, Ramesh Kumar dashed off a letter to Union Home Ministry stating that there was a grave risk to his life and that he and his family members were receiving threat calls from the YSRCP leaders.

After removing Ramesh Kumar, the Jagan sarkar had appointed 76-year-old retired Tamil Nadu judge Kangaraju as SEC. Ramesh Kumar had moved the High Court challenging the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to remove him as SEC.

At least 13 petitioners questioned the sanctity of the ordinance to remove Ramesh Kumar as SEC. On May 29, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had struck down the state government’s Ordinance reducing the tenure of the SEC from five years to three years. Subsequently, the Andhra Pradesh government had filed a Special Leave Petition in the SC seeking a stay on the High Court order.

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