Andhra Pradesh

Ramesh Kumar reinstated as A.P. State Election Commissioner

N. Ramesh Kumar

N. Ramesh Kumar   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The State government finally put a lid on the controversy surrounding the removal of N. Ramesh Kumar from the post of State Election Commissioner (SEC) by issuing a G.O. (MS No. 645) for his reinstatement on Thursday night pursuant to a gazette notification by Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan.

It was, however, stated in the notification that Mr. Ramesh Kumar's restoration to the top post is subject to the outcome of a Special Leave Petition (SLP) which the government filed in the Supreme Court against the High Court order dated May 29.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar's restoration as SEC is in compliance with the High Court judgement delivered on May 29 wherein it struck down the AP Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance (No. 5 of 2020) which resulted in the sudden termination of his services, and the G.Os through which Madras High Court retired judge V. Kanagaraj was appointed in his place as the new SEC, as illegal.

The government has maintained that the ordinance which curtailed the tenure of SEC from five to three years was part of the election reforms and not meant to expel Mr. Ramesh Kumar.

Soon after his unceremonious exit in the second week of April, Mr. Ramesh Kumar approached the High Court seeking his restoration and got a favourable verdict, which was challenged by the government in the Supreme Court.

The apex court upheld the High Court judgement, but to no avail as the State government did not restore Mr. Ramesh Kumar as the SEC.

During the recent hearing on a contempt petition moved by Mr. Ramesh Kumar, the High Court directed him to represent his case to the Governor, who instructed the government to re-appoint him as SEC.

Meanwhile, instead of implementing the High Court judgement, the government filed an SLP in the Supreme Court praying for a stay on the contempt proceedings initiated by Mr. Ramesh Kumar but got no relief there either.

The government has since been left with no option except to reinstate Mr. Ramesh Kumar as SEC, which it did just over three and half months after the promulgation of the impugned ordinance.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 2:29:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ramesh-kumar-reinstated-as-ap-state-election-commissioner/article32236607.ece

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