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In a jolt to Jagan Govt, SC asks state to reinstate Ramesh as SEC

In another jolt to the Jagan government, the  Supreme Court refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh High Court order reinstating Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as State Election Commissioner. 
 
A division bench headed by Chief Justice S.A Bodbe issued notices to respondents and gave two weeks time to reply. The Andhra Pradesh government filed a Special Leave Petition in the apex court challenging the HC order removing Justice (retd) V. Kanagaraj as SEC and reinstating N. Ramesh Kumar whose tenure was cut down to three years by the government following his decision to postpone local body elections. 
 
The Supreme Court issued notices to the State Election Commission (SEC) and others on an appeal of the Andhra Pradesh government against the recent high court order striking down an ordinance curtailing the tenure of the state poll panel chief from five years to three. 
 
A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy refused to stay the order and sought response from the SEC and Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, who was restored as state poll panel chief. The Bench stated that the Court is not satisfied that the motives behind passing such an ordinance were entirely innocent. “How can you pass an ordinance like this”, he asked. 
 
On May 29, the High Court had struck down the Ordinance promulgated on April 10 by the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government, curtailing the tenure of the SEC from five to three years. It also quashed a Government Order appointing retired judge V. Kanagaraj as the new chief and restored retired bureaucrat Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as chief of the state poll panel.
 
Justice V. Kanagaraj, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, had assumed charge as the SEC on April 11, replacing Ramesh Kumar. The High Court had delivered the judgment on a batch of writ petitions, including the one by Ramesh Kumar, challenging the Ordinance and the appointment of a new SEC.
 
The YSR Congress government had on April 10 abruptly removed Ramesh Kumar from the post by promulgating the ordinance, amending the AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, curtailing the tenure of the SEC to three years from five.

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